Ovarian tumors or cysts have either benign or malignant characteristics. Many women with a benign ovarian tumor only need minimally invasive surgery or even no surgery at all. Patients with a malignant tumor, by contrast, have to undergo more radical surgery to remove the tumor. This type of surgery takes much longer and comes with a greater risk of complications. To increase patients' chances of survival, women with a malignant tumor should be treated by a gynecological oncologist as soon as possible. Therefore, ahead of the surgical intervention, a quick and correct classification of the tumor is very important.
Researchers from KU Leuven, Belgium, have improved a test for ultrasound diagnosis of ovarian tumors. Professors Dirk Timmerman and Ben Van Calster collaborated with scientists from Imperial College London and Lund University.
International Ovarian Tumor Analysis team analyzed the data of 5,000 patients from 22 different countries. The data were mainly obtained from ultrasound examination of the tumor. This technique allows doctors to, among other features; see how much solid tissue is present in the tumor and how much blood is flowing in it. Based on these data, Professor Timmerman was able to identify the combinations of characteristics that reveal whether a tumor is benign or malignant.