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Title: Complex ovarian cysts in postmenopausal women are not associated with ovarian cancer risk factors. Preliminary data from the plco cancer screening trial.
Authors: Hartge P,  Hayes R,  Sherman M,  Prorok P,  Schiffman M,  Reding D,  Buys S
Journal: Ann Epidemiol
Date: 2000 Oct 1
Branches: CGB, EBP, MEB, OEEB
PubMed ID: 11018385
PMC ID: not available
Abstract: PURPOSE: We assessed whether ovarian abnormalities detected on ultrasound in postmenopausal women are precursors to ovarian cancer.METHODS: We compared the transvaginal ultrasound findings from the initial examination of twenty thousand postmenopausal women enrolled to date in an ongoing randomized trial of cancer screening to data on the established risk factors for ovarian cancer obtained from self-administered questionnaires. We distinguished cysts with the suspicious characteristics of a septum, solid component, irregular or thick wall ("complex cysts") from simple sonolucent cysts with none of those features.RESULTS: High parity, protective for cancer, was negatively associated with complex cysts (Odds Ratio ["OR"] for five or more births versus no births = 0.72, 95% CI = 0.53-0.97), but long-term oral contraceptive use was not (OR = 0.96, 95% CI = 0.76-1.20). A family history of ovarian cancer or multiple breast cancers, a strong risk factor for cancer, was not associated with complex cysts (OR = 0.99, 95% CI = 0.68-1.44). Other abnormalities found on ultrasound (including simple cysts, bilateral cysts, or all abnormalities combined) also did not share the established risk factors for ovarian malignancy. We formed no combination of features of abnormalities (septum, echogenicity, size, or papillary projection) with the cancer risk factor profile.CONCLUSIONS: Although a very small proportion of the clinically silent ovarian abnormalities found on ultrasound are found to be ovarian cancers, the remaining complex cysts and other clinically suspicious abnormalities do not appear to be the immediate precursors of ovarian cancer.