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New study establishes criteria to detect ovarian cancer in asymptomatic postmenopausal women

Reporting on the largest study of its kind today at the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists 37th Annual Meeting on Women's Cancer, researchers presented new criteria for detecting ovarian cancer malignancy in postmenopausal asymptomatic women, 55 to 74 years old. Utilizing the new criteria, researchers determined that they could accurately predict 93 percent of the advanced ovarian cancers and 87 percent of the early ovarian cancers in asymptomatic women enrolled in an annual screening program and found to have an abnormal screen.

The study, "Determining the Risk of Ovarian Malignancy in Postmenopausal Women with Abnormal Findings in the PLCO Screening Trial: A Guide for Physicians," was led by Edward E. Partridge, M.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL.

"Until we have an accurate screening test to identify ovarian cancer in asymptomatic women, we must have guidelines to help doctors evaluate common test abnormalities and detect the malignancy with as much precision as possible," said, Dr. Partridge. "The results of this study are immediately useful for guiding interpretation of ultrasound and CA-125 abnormalities in asymptomatic postmenopausal women."

Early diagnosis of ovarian cancer is vital to reducing mortality. This is the largest prospective cancer screening study to evaluate the risk of malignancy in an exclusively postmenopausal population, ages 55-74, when there are no symptoms. This study is particularly noteworthy because the described screening tests (ultrasound and CA-125) are immediately available to women today.

"The dilemma we face with screening for a disease with low prevalence, like ovarian cancer, is false positive results," commented Dr. Andrew Berchuck, co-director of the Breast/Ovarian Cancer Program of the Duke University Comprehensive Cancer Center. "This study is important because it provides guidelines to better interpret the ultrasound and CA 125 testing we have available. Accur
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Contact: Jennifer Grunstad
jgrunstad@thegcf.org
312-282-0627
Society of Gynecologic Oncologists
24-Mar-2006


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