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Cancer. 2005 Jul 15;104(2):314-20.

Ovarian carcinoma screening in women at intermediate risk: impact on quality of life and need for invasive follow-up.

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  • 1Gynecology Service, Department of Surgery, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10021, USA.



Women with family histories suggestive of an increased risk of ovarian carcinoma who have not had a deleterious BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation identified are commonly suggested to consider ovarian carcinoma screening with transvaginal ultrasound and/or assessment of CA 125 levels. Limited information is available regarding the impact of this approach on either quality of life (QOL) or need for invasive follow-up in this group of women.


From November 1999 to October 2002, 184 women at intermediate risk of ovarian carcinoma were enrolled in a prospective study. Participants were screened with twice yearly transvaginal ultrasound and CA 125 assessments. Impact on QOL was measured using the Mental Component Summary (MCS) score of the Medical Outcomes Studies Short Form-36. Need for invasive follow-up was determined by questionnaire and medical record review.


In the current study, 135 participants underwent > or = 1 follow-up assessment. During a mean of 19.8 months of follow-up, 12.9% of ultrasounds and 3.8% of CA 125 assessments were abnormal. The authors reported that 38.5% of participants had > or = 1 abnormal ovarian screen that required a short interval follow-up. Because of either abnormal bleeding or ultrasound abnormalities, 24% of participants underwent > or = 1 endometrial sampling. Controlling for a history of breast carcinoma and menopausal status, abnormal ovarian screening results were associated with a decrease in MCS score (P = 0.034), whereas the need for endometrial sampling was not (P = 0.87).


Ovarian carcinoma screening in women at intermediate risk was associated with a substantial rate of abnormal screen results, endometrial sampling, and in women with abnormal ovarian screening findings, a decrease in MCS scores. These findings may have important implications for women considering ovarian carcinoma screening and for the design of future ovarian carcinoma screening trials.

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