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Surveillance procedures for patients treated for epithelial ovarian cancer: a review of the literature
  1. A. Gadducci*,
  2. S. Cosio*,
  3. P. Zola,
  4. F. Landoni,
  5. T. Maggino§ and
  6. E. Sartori
  1. * Department of Procreative Medicine, Division of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy;
  2. Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University of Turin, Turin, Italy;
  3. European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy;
  4. § Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University of Padua, Padua, Italy
  5. Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Angiolo Gadducci, MD, Department of Procreative Medicine, Division of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University of Pisa, Via Roma 56, Pisa 56127, Italy. Email: a.gadducci{at}


Epithelial ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecological cancer in the Western countries. Approximately 20%–30% of patients with early-stage disease and 50%–75% of those with advanced disease who obtain a complete response following first-line chemotherapy will ultimately develop recurrent disease, which more frequently involves the pelvis and abdomen. Few formal guidelines exist regarding the surveillance of these patients, and there is no agreement in the literature about the type and timing of examinations to perform. Moreover, the objective of follow-up is unclear as recurrent epithelial ovarian cancer continues to be a therapeutic dilemma and quite all the relapsed patients will eventually die of their disease. The follow-up of asymptomatic patients generally include complete clinical history, serum cancer antigen (CA)125 assay, physical examination, and often ultrasound examination, whereas additional radiologic imaging techniques are usually performed when symptoms or signs appear. 18Fluoro-2-deoxy-glucose (18FDG)–positron emission tomography (PET) has a sensitivity of 90% and a specificity of 85% approximately for the detection of recurrent disease, and this examination appears to be particularly useful for the diagnosis of recurrence when CA125 levels are rising and conventional imaging is inconclusive or negative. Recently, technologic advances have led to novel combined 18FDG-PET/computed tomography (CT) devices, which perform contemporaneous acquisition of both 18FDG-PET and CT images. The role of 18FDG-PET/CT for the detection of recurrent ovarian cancer is very promising, and this technique may be especially useful for the selection of patients with late recurrent disease who may benefit from secondary cytoreductive surgery.

  • 18FDG-positron emission tomography/computed tomography
  • computed tomography
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • ovarian cancer
  • positron emission tomography

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