Ovarian Cancer in Pelvic Masses

Blood tests for HE4 and CA125 and Risk of Ovarian Malignancy Algorithm highly accurate

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) A mass in your pelvis is detected. Scary. Now you and your doctors obviously want to know if it's cancer. That's been difficult to determine - before now.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved a method that accurately assesses the risk of ovarian cancer in women with pelvic masses. The procedure combines the existing Risk of Ovarian Malignancy Algorithm (ROMA™) with blood tests that look for specific proteins - HE4 and CA125.

"Ask for HE4 and CA125 blood tests, along with the ROMA to learn if it's ovarian cancer."

New research has demonstrated this combined approach provides the highest accuracy in estimating risks of ovarian cancer in women of all ages - pre- and post-menopausal. This new method was developed by a multi-center research team led by Richard G. Moore, M.D., a gynecologic oncologist with the Program in Women's Oncology at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island.

Dr. Moore, who is director of the Center for Biomarkers and Emerging Technology, says that the CA125 test used to be what was used to monitor patients who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. He points out that this test is not able to detect all types of ovarian cancer.

The protein HE4 is known be elevated in epithelial ovarian cancer, the most common form of disease, but not in benign (non-cancerous) masses or diseases.

Dr. Moore told dailyRx, "Of the 200,000 to 300,000 women operated on each year in the US for a pelvic mass about 10% will end up with a diagnosis of a malignancy."

He said, "HE4 and the ROMA algorithm is an important step forward for the management and triage of women diagnosed with an ovarian cyst or pelvic mass."

"The results of ROMA testing allow a physician to accurately assess a patient's risk for ovarian cancer and helps to identify women at high risk that would benefit from referral to a gynecologic oncologists and institutions that are experienced in the management of this disease," said Dr. Moore, who professor of obstetrics and gynecology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

And this new method makes it easier for patients. "Equally important - women at low risk can safely stay in their communities with the doctors who know them best," Dr. Moore said.

Study findings were published in the August 2011 issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the journal of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
September 8, 2011
Last Updated:
September 9, 2011