Ultrasound plus proteomic blood analyses may help physicians diagnose early-stage ovarian cancer

Jan 21, 2010

Noninvasive contrast-enhanced ultrasound imaging, combined with proteomic analyses of blood samples may help physicians identify early-stage ovarian cancer and save the lives of many women, according to an article published in the February issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology. Proteomics is the study of proteins, particularly their structure and function.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death. More than 21,500 women annually are diagnosed with the disease. Each year, nearly 15,000 women die from . More than two-thirds of these patients (67 percent) are diagnosed at an advanced-stage. If early-stage ovarian cancer is detected, survival is greater than 90 percent (compared to 30 percent for advanced-stage disease).

"The fact that so many women are not diagnosed until their disease is advanced confirms the inadequacy of pelvic examinations and standard in detecting early-stage ovarian cancer and the dire need for a validated screening method for the detection of early-stage disease," said David A. Fishman, MD, lead author of the article. "The ability to detect ovarian cancer by a simple blood test has long been the holy grail of screening tests. Although a single blood test would be ideal and simple, it is not possible at present," said Fishman.

The study of proteomics and new analytical techniques using has led to the discovery of hundreds of unique proteins that may serve as biomarkers and aid in the detection of early-stage cancer. "This new discovery sheds light on the possibility that highly discriminatory proteins may be used for the detection of ovarian cancer. However it is necessary to verify any information found by proteomic analysis with an imaging technique," said Fishman.

Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Vanderbilt University Medical Center have discovered that an inexpensive, noninvasive medical imaging technique called contrast-enhanced ultrasound may play a complementary role to confirming or refuting newly discovered biomarkers' ability to accurately detect early-stage ovarian cancer. "We also found that the contrast agents may significantly improve the diagnostic ability of ultrasound to identify early microvascular changes that are known to be associated with early-stage ovarian cancer," said Arthur C. Fleischer, MD, co-author of the article.

"Separately, proteomics and ultrasound are of limited value as early-detection tools," said Fleischer. "However in combination, we will likely be able to shift from an era of diagnosing advanced stage ovarian cancer to that of early-stage disease and, most important, save the lives of many women," he said.

Explore further: Breast cancer markers commonly used for routine surveillance

Provided by American College of Radiology

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Ovarian cancer screening not catching early disease

Apr 01, 2009

The only available screening tests for ovarian cancer fail to catch early signs of the disease and often result in unnecessary surgery, said researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Comprehensive Cancer ...

Ovarian cancer's specific scent detected by dogs

Jun 26, 2008

Ground-breaking research in the June issue of Integrative Cancer Therapies published by SAGE explored whether ovarian cancer has a scent different from other cancers and whether working dogs could be taught to distinguish it in ...

Researchers identify ovarian cancer biomarkers

Mar 07, 2007

Researchers have identified markers unique to the cells of blood vessels running through ovarian tumors. The finding, while preliminary, could one day improve screening, diagnosis and treatment for this disease.

Recommended for you

Video: Is that double mastectomy really necessary?

7 hours ago

When Angeline Vuong, 27,was diagnosed with cancer in one breast earlier this year, her first reaction was "A DOUBLE MASTECTOMY. NOW. " Turns out, she's far from alone: a recent JAMA study of 190,000 breast cancer cases in ...

User comments : 0