The value of cyst puncture in the differential diagnosis of benign ovarian tumours

P. Vercellini, S. Oldani, I. Felicetta, T. Bramante, M. T. Rognoni, P. G. Crosignani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A prospective collection of serum samples and ovarian cyst fluid was used to assess the use of different tumour markers and cyst fluid cytology in combination with serum tumour markers for the differential diagnosis of benign ovarian cysts. A consecutive series of 108 women of median age 30 years (range 15-75) undergoing laparotomy or operative laparoscopy for presumedly benign ovarian cyst(s) were studied at a teaching hospital at the University of Milan, Italy. The main outcome measures were tumour markers CA 125, CA 19.9 and carcino-embryonic antigen (CEA) in serum and ovarian cyst fluid, oestradiol and progesterone concentrations in cyst fluid, and cytology of the sediment. The studied cysts were endometriotic (55 subjects), dermoid (16), mucinous (12), serous (10) or of miscellaneous histo-type (15, including four follicular and one luteal). Serum CA 125 concentrations were significantly higher in the endometrioma patients than in the other groups. The sensitivity of CA 125 in the differentiation of endometriomas from other adnexal tumours was 61.8% and the specificity 94.3%; combining CA 125 and CA 19.9 assays yielded a sensitivity of 83.6% and specificity of 62.3%. Cyst fluid tumour markers values were extremely scattered with ample overlap between different cyst types. Oestradiol and progesterone concentrations were similar in the histological subgroups. Cyst fluid cytology was non-specific. We concluded that the aspiration of fluid from presumedly benign ovarian cysts appears to contribute little to the differential diagnosis of various tumours. The use of combining serum CA 125 and CA 19.9 assays in the diagnosis of endometriomas needs further confirmation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1465-1469
Number of pages5
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • Cyst
  • Cytology
  • Endometriosis
  • Ovary
  • Tumor maker

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Physiology
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Reproductive Medicine


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