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Gynecol Oncol. 1998 Apr;69(1):56-63.

Estimation of probability of malignancy using a logistic model combining physical examination, ultrasound, serum CA 125, and serum CA 72-4 in postmenopausal women with a pelvic mass: an international multicenter study.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Academic Hospital Free University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



To assess the differential diagnostic potential of physical examination, ultrasound, the serum CA 125 assay, and serum CA 72-4 assay, and the contribution of each parameter to a logistic model predicting the probability of malignancy in postmenopausal patients presenting with a pelvic mass.


In a multicenter, prospective study a total of 155 patients were evaluated preoperatively using a standard protocol for pelvic examination, transvaginal (occasionally additional abdominal) ultrasound, and serum CA 72-4 (cutoff level 3 U/ml) and CA 125 (cutoff level 35 U/ml).


Fifty-nine malignant (39%) and 92 benign (61%) pelvic tumors were found in addition to 4 borderline tumors (3%). Forty-three patients appeared to have ovarian carcinoma, FIGO Stage III or IV in 28 cases. Borderline tumors were excluded from the statistical calculations. The diagnostic accuracy of each single parameter, i.e., pelvic examination, ultrasound, and serum CA 125 and CA 72-4 in discriminating between benign and malignant pelvic masses gave highly similar results (81, 76, 78, and 81% respectively). Best sensitivity was found in pelvic examination (92%); best specificity was found in CA 72-4 (93%). Using logistic regression analysis the power of pelvic examination appeared to be the most relevant (adjusted odds ratio 12.1), followed by ultrasound (odds ratio 9.7), serum CA 125 (odds ratio 5.0), and serum CA 72-4 (odds ratio 4.9). Age appeared to be nonpredictive. The logistic model gives a correct prediction in 87% of all cases.


The addition of serum CA 72-4 to the combination of pelvic examination, ultrasound, and serum CA 125 leads to an improved discrimination between malignant and benign pelvic masses.

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