There are no data from prospective randomized studies to support ovarian cancer screening in women at general population risk. Two large prospective ovarian cancer screening studies of low-risk women are ongoing—one in the United States (PLCO) and one in the United Kingdom (UKCTOCS). Results from these studies will be forthcoming in the next several years. For high-risk individuals, given the extremely high lifetime risk of ovarian cancer, consensus groups recommend ovarian cancer screening every 6 months with TVUS and CA-125. Results from current ongoing prospective multicenter trials may help inform clinicians of the best screening strategies and screening intervals for high-risk women. It is important, however, to emphasize to women with a high risk of ovarian cancer the very real limitations of ovarian cancer screening.
The ability to bank serum in both low-risk and high-risk prospective screening studies is crucial. A large number of candidate biomarkers are being discovered through ongoing efforts with high-throughput techniques including expression micro-arrays and proteomics. Rapid assessment of these candidate screening markers will enhance our ability to detect ovarian cancer at its earliest stages when a high probability of cure is achievable.
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