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Ovarian Cancer Early Diagnosis Prospects Evaluated

3D transvaginal power Doppler ultrasound aided by contrast agents is an important new tool

FRIDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Proteomic-based biomarker discovery and contrast-enhanced ultrasound may be the best combination for accurately identifying early-stage epithelial ovarian cancer in women, according to a perspective in the February issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Sonia Dutta, of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues reviewed the current state of early ovarian cancer diagnosis and assessed the direction of future development.

The authors write that, currently, pelvic examination and standard ultrasound are insufficient to detect early-stage epithelial ovarian cancer, and the CA-125 serum biomarker lacks sufficient sensitivity or specificity. While no single ovarian cancer biomarker has been proposed, mass spectrometry may be useful to identify potential protein biomarkers for which reagents and assays can be developed. On the imaging front, 3D transvaginal power Doppler ultrasound has improved the visualization of ovarian lesions. Further, contrast agents can significantly improve the ability of ultrasound to identify early microvascular changes associated with early-stage ovarian cancer.

"As the search for a panel of biomarkers detecting cancer, let alone early-stage disease, progresses, diagnostic imaging will continue to play a critical role to confirm or refute these biomarker assays," the authors write. "Interestingly, recent studies using contrast-enhanced ultrasound have shown potential as an early-detection tool by detecting the aberrant vascularity required for tumor growth before the development of a mass. Thus, we propose that the use of proteomic-based biomarker discovery and contrast-enhanced ultrasound may serve as a promising combination to help accurately identify early-stage epithelial ovarian cancer to improve women's health care."

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