OBJECTIVE: To test whether annual screening with transvaginal ultrasonography and CA 125 reduces ovarian cancer mortality.
METHODS: Data from the first four annual screens, denoted T0–T3, are reported. A CA 125 value at or above 35 units/mL or an abnormality on transvaginal ultrasonography was considered a positive screen. Diagnostic follow-up of positive screens was performed at the discretion of participants’ physicians. Diagnostic procedures and cancers were tracked and verified through medical records.
RESULTS: Among 34,261 screening arm women without prior oophorectomy, compliance with screening ranged from 83.1% (T0) to 77.6% (T3). Screen positivity rates declined slightly with transvaginal ultrasonography, from 4.6 at T0 to 2.9–3.4 at T1–T3; CA 125 positivity rates (range 1.4–1.8%) showed no time trend. Eighty-nine invasive ovarian or peritoneal cancers were diagnosed; 60 were screen detected. The positive predictive value (PPV) and cancer yield per 10,000 women screened on the combination of tests were similar across screening rounds (range 1.0–1.3% for PPV and 4.7–6.2 for yield); however, the biopsy (surgery) rate among screen positives decreased from 34% at T0 to 15–20% at T1–T3. The overall ratio of surgeries to screen-detected cancers was 19.5:1. Seventy-two percent of screen-detected cases were late stage (III/IV).
CONCLUSION: Through four screening rounds, the ratio of surgeries to screen-detected cancers was high, and most cases were late stage. However, the effect of screening on mortality is as yet unknown.
CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov, www.clinicaltrials.gov, NCT00002540
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: II