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Improving Detection of Ovarian Cancer With the CA125 Biomarker

By: Cordi Craig
Posted: Monday, April 15, 2019

For screening the general population for ovarian cancer, the best-known biomarker—CA125—is neither adequately sensitive nor specific. In a study published in Cancer Prevention Research, researchers attempted to improvethe assay’s sensitivity and specificity by adding five proteins in a multiprotein classifier, increasing clinicians’ abilities to detect ovarian cancer in screening tests. According to their findings, many of the proteins that were differentially expressed between women with ovarian cancer and healthy women had not previously been identified as biomarkers.

“The results from this study take us one step closer to developing a blood-based test for ovarian cancer detection,” noted Amy P.N. Skubitz, PhD, of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, in an institutional press release.

The authors analyzed blood samples from 61 women with ovarian cancer and 88 age-matched healthy women. Using a high-throughput, multiplex immunoassay, the authors measured the expression of 92 cancer-related proteins.

The researchers identified 52 proteins that significantly differed between cancer samples and healthy samples (P < .006). Overall, 40 cancer-related proteins exhibited an estimated area under the receiving operating characteristic (ROC) curve of 0.70 or higher, indicating a potential to serve as biomarkers for ovarian cancer. Before adding the values for 5 proteins, CA125 alone achieved a sensitivity of 93.4% at a specificity of 98%. However, when CA125 and five additional proteins were tested, the assay sensitivity increased to 98.4% at a specificity of 98%.

Disclosure: The study authors’ disclosure information may be found at aacrjournals.org.



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