Background: To evaluate the diagnostic value of adding human epididymis protein 4 (HE4), cancer antigen 125 (CA125) and risk of malignancy algorithm (ROMA) to ultrasound for detecting ovarian cancer in patients with a pelvic mass.
Methods: This was a prospective, observational, multicenter study. Patients aged > 18 years who were scheduled to undergo surgery for a suspicious pelvic mass had CA125 and HE4 levels measured prior to surgery, in addition to a routine transvaginal ultrasound scan. The diagnostic performance of CA125, HE4 and ROMA for distinguishing between benign and malignant adnexal masses was assessed using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis and the corresponding area under the curve (AUC).
Results: Of 965 evaluable patients, 804 were diagnosed with benign tumors and 161 were diagnosed with ovarian cancer. In late-stage ovarian cancer, CA125, HE4 and ROMA all had an excellent diagnostic performance (AUC > 0.92), whereas in stage I and II, diagnostic performance of all three biomarkers was less adequate (AUC < 0.77). In the differential diagnosis of ovarian cancer and endometriosis, ROMA and HE4 performed better than CA125 with 99 and 98.1% versus 75.0% sensitivity, respectively, at 75.4% specificity.
Conclusions: ROMA and HE4 could be valuable biomarkers to help with the diagnosis of ovarian cancer in premenopausal patients in order to differentiate from endometriosis, whereas CA125 may be more adequate for postmenopausal patients.