Ovarian Cancer

The majority of women who undergo surgery for suspected ovarian cancer do not have cancer. However, a novel blood test developed by researchers at Uppsala University and the Sahlgrenska Academy; University of Gothenburg, in Sweden, now offers the possibility of more precise diagnostics without the need for surgery.

But this could lead to a reduction in unnecessary surgery; and to earlier detection and treatment for affected women. The study was recently publish in Communications Biology. Therefore ovarian cancer is often discover at a late stage and has a high mortality rate. Out of 10 patients, only 3-4 survive 5 years after treatment; and there has been no test specific enough to justify screening.

Increased risks for women

Women with accidental findings of an ovarian cyst or with symptoms instead undergo; ultrasound and if abnormalities are seen, surgery is the only way to make sure all cancers are detect. This means that many women are operate on without having; cancer; resulting in unnecessary surgery and increased risks for women.

They need to develop more accurate pre-surgery diagnostics. To detect one cancer; we operate on up to five women yet this is currently the best option when abnormalities; are detect by ultrasound and cancer is suspect. There is a great need for a simple blood test that could identify women who do not need surgery.” Karin Sundfeldt, Professor and Senior Consultant at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Institute of Clinical Sciences at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.

However, the publish study, the researchers have developed a bio marker test; base on analysis of 11 proteins. The test, which is performed on a blood sample; is use where ultrasound has indicated abnormalities to identify women without cancer. For cases in which physicians chose to operate; the cancer rate could increase from one in five to one in three. But this would greatly reduce unnecessary surgery; and the risk of complications related to surgery.

Screening for early discovery of ovarian cancer

However, the bio marker profile can also detect borderline cases and early stages of the disease. “Our results are promising enough; to consider screening for early discovery of ovarian cancer. But in Sweden, we have long experience of screening for cervical cancer.

But they see great prospects of developing a strategy for screening for ovarian cancer as well; which could save lives and minimize the need for surgery to rule out cancer,” says Ulf Gyllensten, Professor of Medical Molecular Genetics at the Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology at Uppsala University.

However,the paper, publish in the open access journal Communications Biology (Springer Nature Publishing AG); presents a new test that has been developed in collaboration with Uppsala-based biotech company Olink Proteomics AB. “However they are now continuing to evaluate the test and are performing; a large-scale study of samples collect at all hospitals from the western region and Halland healthcare system,” says Gyllensten.