ovarian cysts screening

Ovarian cancer is one of the most difficult to detect, but a new MRI tool could be about to make it much easier. Researchers at the APHP Sorbonne University, alongside the Imperial College London, developed the new tool which has shown to be effective at distinguishing between malignant and benign ovarian cysts.

Here, you’ll discover more about the new tool and how it could improve the detection of ovarian cancer.

What is the new tool and how does it work?

The new MRI tool is being recommended as a triage test by researchers. Known as Ovarian-Adnexal Reporting Data System Magnetic Resonance Imaging, it is said to be able to help triage patients who present as low risk. It could also be potentially used to identify high-risk patients, enabling to seek treatment early on.

In the recent study, the tool was assessed to see how effective it was at identifying the risk of a malignant ovarian cyst in 1340 women. It was carried out between 2013 to 2016 across 15 different centres in Europe.

Each woman underwent an MRI pelvic examination. This was used to look for specific features within the cysts which couldn’t be picked up during an ultrasound scan. The researchers then worked on a risk stratification scoring process which could be applied to score ovarian cysts based upon five different factors. The tool was then used by radiologists to score the cyst.

Scores which ranked 1-3 were identified as being benign. A score of 4-5 on the other hand, pointed to a high risk. The women who were identified as high risk, underwent surgery or attended two-year follow up appointments if the cyst was discovered to be benign.

It was revealed that the new tool was 90% accurate at identifying both benign and malignant cysts. It was also shown to outperform existing diagnostic methods.

Could it help patients to avoid surgery?

One of the most exciting revelations of this new study, was the indication that it could help to reduce surgery rates. As it stands, patients often need to undergo surgery to determine whether a cyst is malignant or benign. However, through the use of this new tool, a benign cyst could be identified before surgery, eliminating the need for surgery.

The research also revealed that the risk of a benign cyst which scored 1-3, becoming malignant was extremely low. By carrying out testing through this new tool, patients will be able to make a more informed choice over the treatment they receive. Surgery to diagnose ovarian cysts can result in fertility issues. So, eliminating the need for it for those with a low-risk cyst can help to prevent a lot of heartache.

While the new tool isn’t yet available to patients, there are currently scans which can help. Ovarian scans are a non-invasive option, helping to identify cysts and determine their severity. You can book an ovarian scan through us if you are concerned about any cysts you may have. Learn more about our ovarian cancer screening here.