London | Scientists have improved a test for ultrasound diagnosis of ovarian cancer by identifying the combinations of characteristics that show whether a tumour is benign or malignant. Ovarian tumours or cysts have either benign or malignant characteristics.
Many women with a benign ovarian tumour only need minimally invasive surgery or even no surgery at all. Patients with a malignant tumour, by contrast, have to undergo more radical surgery to remove the tumour.
This type of surgery takes much longer and comes with a greater risk of complications, researchers from the KU Leuven in Belgium said. To increase patients’ chances of survival, women with a malignant tumour should be treated by a gynaecological oncologist as soon as possible. Therefore, ahead of the surgical intervention, a quick and correct classification of the tumour is very important, they said.
Ovarian tumours are classified as benign or malignant on ultrasound, by means of the popular ‘Simple Rules’ test. Until recently, this test was inconclusive for 20-25 per cent of the patients. Our team was able to fine-tune this test.
From now on, every patient can get an accurate diagnosis. The new test even provides the exact risk of the tumour being benign or malignant, said Dirk Timmerman from KU Leuven in Belgium.
Researchers analysed the data of 5,000 patients from 22 different countries. The data was mainly obtained from ultrasound examination of the tumour. This technique allows doctors to, among other features, see how much solid tissue is present in the tumour and how much blood is flowing in it.
Based on the data, researchers were able to identify the combinations of characteristics that show whether a tumour is benign or malignant.