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Mass Spectrometer Test IDs Cancer With High Accuracy

Method involving computerized algorithm detects ovarian cancer with unprecedented accuracy

THURSDAY, Aug. 12 (HealthDay News) -- A novel method of mass spectrometer technology plus a computerized algorithm can identify ovarian cancer in blood sera with nearly 100 percent accuracy, according to research published online Aug. 10 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Manshui Zhou, Ph.D., of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, and colleagues evaluated the performance of mass spectrometer technology with a new support vector machine computation method for identifying cancer by testing the sera of 44 women with ovarian cancer and 50 controls (healthy women and those with benign conditions).

The researchers found the test to be 99 to 100 percent accurate in distinguishing between the cancer and control groups, with sensitivity and specificity at 100 percent and 98 to 100 percent, respectively.

"The method has significant clinical potential as a cancer diagnostic tool. Because of the extremely low prevalence of ovarian cancer in the general population (∼0.04 percent), extensive prospective testing will be required to evaluate the test's potential utility in general screening applications. However, more immediate applications might be as a diagnostic tool in higher-risk groups or to monitor cancer recurrence after therapeutic treatment," the authors write.

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