Clinically oriented three-step strategy for assessment of adnexal pathology


L. Ameye Katholieke, Academic Medical Center, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Kasteelpark Arenberg 10, Leuven 3001, Belgiu E-mail:



To determine the diagnostic performance of ultrasound-based simple rules, risk of malignancy index (RMI), two logistic regression models (LR1 and LR2) and real-time subjective assessment by experienced ultrasound examiners following the exclusion of masses likely to be judged as easy and ‘instant’ to diagnose by an ultrasound examiner, and to develop a new strategy for the assessment of adnexal pathology based on this.


3511 patients with at least one persistent adnexal mass preoperatively underwent transvaginal ultrasonography to assess tumor morphology and vascularity. They were included in two consecutive prospective studies by the International Ovarian Tumor Analysis (IOTA) group: Phase 1 (1999–2005), development of the simple rules and logistic regression models LR1 and LR2, and Phase 2, a validation study (2005–2007).


Almost half of the cases (43%) were identified as ‘instant’ to diagnose on the basis of descriptors applied to the database. To assess diagnostic performance in the more difficult ‘non-instant’ masses, we used only Phase 2 data (n = 1036). The sensitivity of LR2 was 88%, of RMI it was 41% and of subjective assessment it was 87%. The specificity of LR2 was 67%, of RMI it was 90% and of subjective assessment it was 86%. The simple rules yielded a conclusive result in almost 2/3 of the masses, where they resulted in sensitivity and specificity similar to those of real-time subjective assessment by experienced ultrasound examiners: sensitivity 89 vs 89% (P = 0.76), specificity 91 vs 91% (P = 0.65). When a three-step strategy was applied with easy ‘instant’ diagnoses as Step 1, simple rules where conclusive as Step 2 and subjective assessment by an experienced ultrasound examiner in the remaining masses as Step 3, we obtained a sensitivity of 92% and specificity of 92% compared with sensitivity 90% (P = 0.03) and specificity 93% (P = 0.44) when using real-time subjective assessment by experts in all tumors.


A diagnostic strategy using simple descriptors and ultrasound rules when applied to the variables contained in the IOTA database obtains results that are at least as good as those obtained by subjective assessment of a mass by an expert. Copyright © 2012 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.