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Screening Tool for Ovarian Cancer Identified

Four-biomarker panel has 86 percent sensitivity, 98 percent specificity for stages I and II disease

TUESDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- A panel of four biomarkers that may be useful as part of a screening strategy for ovarian cancer has been identified, according to research published online April 5 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Zoya Yurkovetsky, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, and colleagues analyzed 96 serum biomarkers to identify and validate a combination that would help better detect early-stage ovarian cancer. They analyzed sera from 139 patients with early-stage ovarian cancer, 149 patients with late-stage ovarian cancer, and 1,102 healthy women.

The researchers identified a panel of four biomarkers -- CA-125, HE4, CEA and VCAM-1 -- that had the highest diagnostic power of 86 percent sensitivity for early-stage, 93 percent sensitivity for late-stage, and 98 percent specificity. They applied the model to an independent blinded validation set that consisted of sera from 44 patients with early-stage ovarian cancer, 124 patients with late-stage disease, and 929 healthy women. It provided an unbiased estimate of 86 percent sensitivity for stages I and II and 95 percent sensitivity for stages III and IV, with 98 percent specificity. The panel was selective for ovarian cancer, having low sensitivity for other cancers and for benign pelvic disease.

"The high sensitivity of 86 percent achieved with our four-marker panel for distinguishing women with early-stage ovarian cancer from healthy individuals at 98 percent specificity surpasses the sensitivites previously reported (70 to 73 percent). The fact that the multimarker assay offered high accuracy in a heterogeneous validation set that contained different histologies indicates the likely general utility of the assay for the most common histotypes of ovarian cancer," the authors write.

Author financial relationships with Vermillion, Fujirebio Diagnostics, and Becton Dickinson were disclosed.

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