New Test Detects 95% of Early Ovarian Cancer
Investigators at Yale, George Washington University, and the Nevada Cancer Institute reported they have developed a blood test that can detect the early signs of ovarian cancer with 95% accuracy.
The early signs are a cluster of proteins that were present in all women who tested positive for the disease that affects 22,000 US women a year, killing 16,000. The proteins are leptin, prolactin, osteopontin, and insulin-like growth factor-II.
Current bloodtests only detect 10% of cases as they only test for a protein called CA-125. Also because of the deep abdominal position of the ovaries, 80% of diagnoses are made after ovarian cancer has metastasized.
The five-year survival rate is 45%.
Often named the “silent killer” because of symptoms, such as bloating or abdominal pain, ovarian cancer is often undiagnosed until it has already spread.
“Early diagnosis can help prolong or save lives, but clinicians currently have no sensitive screening method because the disease shows few symptoms,” said Yale’s Gil Mor, M.D.
According to researchers, the 95% accuracy rate is not good enough to use on a widespread population.
Because of the rarity of ovarian cancer, widespread testing could result in alarming false positives, causing 5% of those to be misdiagnosed.
The researchers continue to look for other proteins to add to the four-protein panel to increase testing sensitivity and accuracy rate. In addition, a transvaginal ultrasound is recommend for confirmation.
The study was published in the May 10th early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.