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J Ultrasound Med. 2005 May;24(5):689-96.

Three-dimensional power Doppler vascular sampling: a new method for predicting ovarian cancer in vascularized complex adnexal masses.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Clínica Universitaria de Navarra, Avenida Pio XII 36, 31008 Pamplona, Spain.



The purpose of this study was to explore the role of a new concept ("vascular sampling") as a third step to discriminate benign and malignant lesions in B-mode and color Doppler sonographically suggestive adnexal masses.


Forty-five women (mean age, 52.3 years; range, 17-82 years) with the diagnosis of complex adnexal masses on B-mode sonography were evaluated using 3-dimensional power Doppler sonography. Four women had bilateral masses. After a morphologic reevaluation was done, color pulsed Doppler sonography was used to obtain flow velocity waveforms, and velocimetric indices were calculated (resistive index, pulsatility index, and peak systolic velocity). Thereafter, 3-dimensional power Doppler sonography was used to assess vascularization of highly suggestive areas (gross papillary projections, solid areas, and thick septations), meaning a focused assessment ("sampling") of a suggestive area of the tumor. With a virtual organ computer-aided analysis program, vascular indices (vascularization index, flow index, and vascular flow index) were automatically calculated. A definitive histologic diagnosis was obtained in each case.


Forty masses (82%) were malignant and 9 (18%) were benign. Morphologic evaluation revealed 10 (20%) unilocular solid masses, 20 (41%) multilocular solid masses, and 19 (39%) mostly solid masses. Blood flow was found in all cases. Median vascularization index (15.5% versus 8.2%; P = .002), flow index (33.6 versus 20.8; P = .007), and vascular flow index (5.2 versus 2.3; P = .001) were significantly higher in malignant tumors. No differences were found in resistive index (0.43 versus 0.45; P = .770), pulsatility index (0.62 versus 0.65; P = .694), and peak systolic velocity (15.6 versus 12 cm/s; P = .162).


Three-dimensional power Doppler vascular sampling seems to be a promising tool for predicting ovarian cancer in vascularized complex adnexal masses. It could be better than conventional color pulsed Doppler imaging.

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