(July 28, 2016) A study published recently in JAMA Oncology showed that CA-125 tests and CT scans are routinely used in ovarian cancer surveillance testing, even though evidence has shown there is no clinical benefit to using these tests.
There is no consensus on how to follow a patient in remission from ovarian cancer in order to detect recurrent disease. A 2009 randomized clinical trial demonstrated that using CA-125 tests for routine surveillance in ovarian cancer increases the use of chemotherapy and decreases patients’ quality of life without improving survival, compared with clinical observation. This study examines the use of CA-125 tests and CT scans in clinical practice before and after the 2009 randomized clinical trial, and estimates the economic effect of surveillance testing.
The results of the recent study found women are still undergoing routine CA-125 tests and CT scans, in spite of the 2009 trial that showed they offered no benefit. Monetary costs associated with surveillance testing are largely driven by use of CT scans. The authors estimate that these tests – which are not high-value care– may cost more than $16 million annually.