Evaluating the performance of 3D power Doppler in differential diagnosis of adnexal masses

Background and aims

Three-dimensional power Doppler (3DPD) ultrasound has been used for assessing adnexal masses, and in this study, we aimed to perform a meta-analysis to evaluate its role in the differential diagnosis of adnexal masses.


A search for primary studies assessing the diagnostic performance of 3DPD in discriminating benign from malignant masses carried out between January 1990 and May 2023 was performed in Medline (PubMed), Scopus, and Web of Science databases with study quality evaluated using QUADAS-2.


We identified 404 citations. Ultimately, 18 studies comprising 2,975 women were included, and the mean prevalence of malignant lesions was 37%. In most cases, the quality of studies was moderate. Overall, pooled sensitivity, specificity, positive likelihood ratio, and negative likelihood ratio of 3DPD vascular tree assessment for studies including any type of mass were 77% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 52%–91%), 80% (95% CI = 37%–97%), 3.9 (95% CI = 0.7–20.9), and 0.29 (95% CI = 0.10–0.81), respectively. Heterogeneity was high for both sensitivity and specificity. Pooled sensitivity, specificity, positive likelihood ratio, and negative likelihood ratio of 3DPD vascular tree assessment for studies including only "complex" or "suspicious" adnexal masses were 90% (95% CI = 82%–94%), 88% (95% CI = 74%–95%), 7.3 (95% CI = 3.2–16.4), and 0.12 (95% CI = 0.06–0.22), respectively. Heterogeneity was moderate for both sensitivity and specificity. We could not perform quantitative synthesis for studies estimating 3D vascular indexes.


In conclusion, in this meta-analysis, we have observed that 3DPD using the assessment of the tumor vascular tree featured a good diagnostic performance in discriminating between benign and malignant adnexal masses, and the diagnostic performance is better when this technique is used in "complex" or "suspicious" adnexal masses. Despite this, 3DPD does not add diagnostic information to current 2D ultrasound-based approaches for the differential diagnosis of adnexal masses. However, further major research is needed particularly to determine for which adnexal masses it could be useful and what criteria should be used.

Journal reference:

Sánchez, E., et al. (2024). The Role of Three-dimensional Power Doppler for Detecting Ovarian Cancer in Adnexal Masses: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Oncology Advances. doi.org/10.14218/ona.2023.00034.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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