A randomised controlled trial comparing surgical intervention rates between two protocols for the management of asymptomatic adnexal tumours in postmenopausal women
OPEN BMJ open | 13 Dec 2012
N Nunes, X Foo, M Widschwendter and D Jurkovic
INTRODUCTION: Detection of asymptomatic adnexal tumours in postmenopausal women has increased due to wider use of diagnostic ultrasound and imaging quality improvements. Reliable methods to differentiate between benign and malignant tumours are required to avoid delays in treating ovarian cancer and to prevent unnecessary interventions for benign lesions. In the UK, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has issued guidance for the management of adnexal cysts in postmenopausal women, which is considered standard in routine clinical practice. The protocol utilises the Risk of Malignancy Index to assess the risk of adnexal lesion being malignant. This protocol has a relatively high intervention rate in order to avoid a delay in a cancer diagnosis. The Simple Rules Protocol designed by International Ovarian Tumour Analysis Group reports a low false-positive rate in the diagnosis of ovarian cancer without a loss of sensitivity and therefore has the potential to reduce unnecessary interventions in asymptomatic postmenopausal women with benign cysts. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: 140 postmenopausal women aged 40-80, with incidentally detected adnexal tumours on ultrasound scan will be recruited to this study. They will be randomly allocated, to be assessed and managed according to either of the two protocols under investigation. In both arms of the study the tumours will be classified into three groups: high, intermediate or low risk of malignancy. Women with high risk of malignancy will be referred for management in a tertiary cancer centre, women with low-risk tumours will be managed expectantly, while those with intermediate risk findings have surgery in their local hospital units. Analysis will be on an intention-to-treat basis. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Research ethical approval was granted by the North London Research Ethical Committee 2 (10/H0724/48). Trial results will be published according to the CONSORT statement. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: Registration at http://www.controlled-trials.com/ISRCTN89034131/. ISRCTN89034131.
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