"Our study showed that the ovarian cancers currently detected at an early stage have gene expression profiles that correlate with favorable outcome, rather than being representative of the entire spectrum of disease aggressiveness," said Andrew Berchuck, M.D., a gynecologic oncologist at Duke and lead investigator on this study. "This highlights the potential challenges of developing a screening test for this disease, because earlier detection of aggressive cases is essential if screening is to reduce ovarian cancer deaths."
The results of this study and the implications for screening as an approach to decreasing mortality parallel the challenges seen in lung cancer and prostate cancer. In those cancers, while screening approaches based on radiological imaging and/or blood markers detect cancers, it remains unclear whether cancer-related deaths are prevented because screening preferentially detects more benign cancers that are much less likely to be fatal, Berchuck said.
"While these results could be seen as discouraging, it must be remembered that this information is an important piece of the ovarian cancer puzzle, and data like these that increase our understanding of the disease hopefully will eventually lead to breakthroughs in prevention, early detection and treatment of this deadly disease," Berchuck said.
Although there is currently no approved ovarian cancer screening test for the general population, the CA125 blood test and transvaginal ultrasound imaging currently are being evaluated in clinical trials.
The researchers looked at gene expression patterns in 166 ovarian cancer tissue samples taken from patients who were treated at Duke, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and from the Gynecologic Oncology Group Tumor Bank. For this study, researchers examined samples of advanced ovarian cancers from patients who had experienced long-term survival -- over seven years -- and patients who had done extremely poorly, and died within three years of diagnosis.
The researchers used microarrays – a method for examining thousands of snippets of DNA -- with about 22,000 probe sets to examine patterns of gene expression among the samples, and identified genes that were most predictive of survival.
"We found that certain patterns predicted long-term survival and others predicted a poorer prognosis in advanced stage cases," Berchuck said. "Cancers that were detected at an early stage almost always shared gene expression characteristics with advanced stage cases that were long-term survivors, suggesting a shared favorable biology."
The researchers published their results in the March 24, 2009 issue of the journal Clinical Cancer Research. The study was funded by the Gail Parkins Ovarian Cancer Research Fund and the National Institutes of Health.
Other researchers involved in this study include Edwin Iversen, Jingqin Luo, Jennifer Clarke, Hisani Horne, Angeles Secord, Jason Barnett, Susan Murphy, Holly Dressman, Jeffrey Marks of Duke; Douglas Levine and Jeff Boyd of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, NY; Miguel Alonso of the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid; and Johnathan Lancaster of H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute.
Lauren Shaftel Williams | EurekAlert!
Live probiotics can re-balance the gut microbiome and modify immune system response
20.11.2018 | Symprove
Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'
16.11.2018 | Purdue University
Innsbruck quantum physicists have constructed a diode for magnetic fields and then tested it in the laboratory. The device, developed by the research groups led by the theorist Oriol Romero-Isart and the experimental physicist Gerhard Kirchmair, could open up a number of new applications.
Electric diodes are essential electronic components that conduct electricity in one direction but prevent conduction in the opposite one. They are found at the...
Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.
Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
19.11.2018 | Event News
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
21.11.2018 | Life Sciences
21.11.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
21.11.2018 | Life Sciences