Are serum HE4 or ROMA scores useful to experienced examiners for improving characterization of adnexal masses after transvaginal ultrasonography?

J. Kaijser, T. Van Gorp, M. -E. Smet, C. Van Holsbeke, A. Sayasneh, E. Epstein, T. Bourne, I. Vergote, B. Van Calster, D. Timmerman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective To determine whether serum human-epididymis protein-4 (HE4) levels or Risk of Ovarian Malignancy Algorithm (ROMA) scores are useful second-stage tests for tumors thought to be difficult to characterize as benign or malignant on the basis of ultrasound findings by experienced examiners, and to investigate whether adding information on serum HE4 levels or ROMA scores to ultrasound findings improves diagnostic performance. Methods This was a prospective cross-sectional diagnostic accuracy study conducted in a tertiary referral center that enrolled consecutive women with a known adnexal mass scheduled for surgery. Experienced level III examiners classified each mass as certainly or probably benign, difficult to classify, or probably or certainly malignant after preoperative ultrasound examination. Serum HE4 and CA125 levels were measured before surgery. Results The final database comprised 360 women, of whom 216 (60%) had benign and 144 (40%) had malignant disease. Examiners were highly confident in 196 cases (54%), moderately confident in 135 (38%) and completely uncertain about their diagnosis in 29 (8%) cases. With a sensitivity of 67% and specificity of 70%, subjective assessment outperformed HE4 and ROMA in the subgroup of difficult tumors. Both tests had low discriminatory capacity with poor areas under the receiver-operating characteristics curve of 0.536 (95% CI, 0.302-0.771) and 0.565 (95% CI, 0.294-0.836), respectively. A strategy that incorporates sequential testing of serum HE4 or ROMA scores after transvaginal ultrasonography resulted in a deterioration in overall test performance. Conclusion Measurement of serum HE4 or calculating scores using the ROMA as secondary tests does not seem useful for classifying adnexal tumors after subjective assessment with transvaginal ultrasonography. ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-97
JournalUltrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • CA125 protein
  • diagnostic test
  • HE4 protein, human
  • ovarian neoplasms
  • ultrasonography


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