Preoperative identification of a suspicious adnexal mass: A systematic review and meta-analysis Journal Articles uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVE: To systematically review the existing literature in order to determine the optimal strategy for preoperative identification of the adnexal mass suspicious for ovarian cancer. METHODS: A review of all systematic reviews and guidelines published between 1999 and 2009 was conducted as a first step. After the identification of a 2004 AHRQ systematic review on the topic, searches of MEDLINE for studies published since 2004 was also conducted to update and supplement the evidentiary base. A bivariate, random-effects meta-regression model was used to produce summary estimates of sensitivity and specificity and to plot summary ROC curves with 95% confidence regions. RESULTS: Four meta-analyses and 53 primary studies were included in this review. The diagnostic performance of each technology was compared and contrasted based on the summary data on sensitivity and specificity obtained from the meta-analysis. Results suggest that 3D ultrasonography has both a higher sensitivity and specificity when compared to 2D ultrasound. Established morphological scoring systems also performed with respectable sensitivity and specificity, each with equivalent diagnostic competence. Explicit scoring systems did not perform as well as other diagnostic testing methods. Assessment of an adnexal mass by colour Doppler technology was neither as sensitive nor as specific as simple ultrasonography. Of the three imaging modalities considered, MRI appeared to perform the best, although results were not statistically different from CT. PET did not perform as well as either MRI or CT. The measurement of the CA-125 tumour marker appears to be less reliable than do other available assessment methods. CONCLUSION: The best available evidence was collected and included in this rigorous systematic review and meta-analysis. The abundant evidentiary base provided the context and direction for the diagnosis of early-staged ovarian cancer.


  • Dodge, Jason E
  • Covens, Allan L
  • Lacchetti, Christina
  • Elit, Laurie
  • Le, Tien
  • Devries-Aboud, Michaela
  • Fung-Kee-Fung, Michael

publication date

  • July 2012