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Minerva Ginecologica 2001 February;53(1):1-2


language: Italian

Sonographic characterization, Doppler ultrasonography and serum tumor markers in definition of malignancy of pelvic masses

Gramellini D., Rutolo S., Verrotti C., Piantelli G., Fieni S., Vadora E.


Background. The study analyses the diagnostic possibilities regarding ovarian neoplasms offered by different clinical approaches: B-mode morphological ultrasonographic examination, colour Doppler and Doppler pulsed ultrasonography, and lastly the assay of a number of tumour markers.
Methods. A prospective study was carried out in 125 selected patients attending the Ultraso-nography unit of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinic at Parma University between June 1997 and June 1999 who presented an ''adnexal mass''. All patients underwent transvaginal ultrasonography (multifrequency vaginal probe 5.0-6.5 MHz, Esaote Idea, Genova) to characterise the mass, applying 5 different ultrasonographic scores: Granberg, Sassone, Di Priest, Lerner, Ferrazzi. Colour Doppler imaging was then performed to analyse the vascularisation of the mass, also using pulsed Doppler to study a number of velocimetric parameters: pulsatility index, index of resistance, systolic and diastolic peak velocity, mean velocity. All the patients underwent surgery using laparotomy or videolaparoscopy, accompanied by histological analysis. A number of different tumour markers were assayed prior to surgery: Cal25, CA19-9, CEA, beta-HCG, alpha-fetoprotein.
Results. Out of 127 pelvic masses examined, histological analysis showed that 19 were malignant and 108 benign. The diagnostic accuracy of malignancy was comparable for the 5 scores studied, with a minimum of 57.48% for Lerner and a maximum of 77.16% for Di Priest. The central importance of vascularisation was the only significant parameter among those analysed using colour Doppler which was useful for the diagnosis of a malignant neoplasm, with a diagnostic accuracy of 82.95%. No indicator obtained using pulsed Doppler was useful for diagnostic purposes. CA125 was the only tumour marker that revealed a statistically significant difference emerged between the benign (21.6 U/ml) and malignant (220.8 U/ml) masses. Its diagnostic accuracy was 75.58%.
Conclusions. This study confirmed that the three methods analysed do not differentiate substantially in their overall diagnostic capacity of malignant ovarian neoplasms. The best performances for ecographic scores (Di Priest) did not exceed a sensitivity of 89.47% with a 21.25% incidence of false positives; this was comparable to CA125 with a sensitivity of 85.71% and false positives in 22.09%. In relation to the central importance of vascularisation, colour Doppler achieved a lower sensitivity (55.55%), but this was confirmed by a low incidence of false positives (7.95%). This revealed its importance as a useful method, especially for excluding the presence of malignant tumours.

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