Human reproduction (Oxford, England) vol:7 issue:9 pages:1314-7
In a prospective study, the concentrations of CA 125, 17 beta-oestradiol and progesterone were assayed in 52 consecutive ovarian cysts, laparoscopically suspected to be endometriomas. Cysts with dark brown 'chocolate' fluid (n = 42) were excised by CO2-laser endoscopy. Cysts with clear fluid were diagnosed by pathology as follicular cysts (n = 5) or pseudoperitoneal cysts (n = 5). Fluids (n = 53) aspirated during echo-guided puncture for in-vitro fertilization (IVF) were assayed simultaneously. Of the 42 women undergoing a cystectomy, the clinical diagnosis of an endometrioma was confirmed by pathology in only 68%, the other cases being corpora lutea (27%) or follicular cysts (5%). Cyst fluids from corpora lutea had lower CA 125 concentrations (< 1000 IU/ml) together with high 17 beta-oestradiol concentrations (> 2000 pg/ml) and/or high progesterone concentrations (> 100 ng/ml). Endometriotic cysts had either very high CA 125 concentrations (> 10,000 IU/ml) as occurred in 78% or lower CA 125 concentrations (< 1000 IU/ml) together with low 17 beta-oestradiol and/or progesterone concentrations. 'Chocolate' fluid-containing cysts aspirated during IVF had similar concentration profiles of CA 125, 17 beta-oestradiol and progesterone and the diagnoses derived from these concentrations were not contradicted in 19/27 women undergoing a laparoscopy within 4 months. In eight women, however, with high CA 125 concentrations in their cyst fluid, no endometriotic cysts were found at laparoscopy. Only 68% of cysts containing 'chocolate' material were endometriotic cysts and CA 125 could be useful in making this diagnosis. This method is recommended when dark brown fluid is aspirated in IVF.