Review Article

Biomarkers in Ovarian Cancer Screening

Paula Anastasia, RN, MN, AOCN

From Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California.

The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence to: Paula Anastasia, RN, MN, AOCN®, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 8700 Beverly Blvd, Los Amgeles, CA 90048. E-mail: AnastasiaP@cshs.org.


J Adv Pract Oncol 2010;1:97–105 | DOI: 10.6004/jadpro.2010.1.2.12 | © 2010 Harborside Press


  

ABSTRACT

There are no effective early-detection modalities for epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), the fifth leading cause of cancer death in women. However, the 5-year survival rate for women diagnosed with stage I disease is 90%, demonstrating the need for improved early-detection methods. Biomarkers are used in conjunction with clinical assessment, for screening and detecting cancer occurrence, and for determining response and recurrence. Currently, two biomarkers (CA-125 and HE4) are used for monitoring and identification of recurrence of EOC; a third marker (OVA1) is used as the differential in a preoperative setting. In addition to serum markers, researchers are looking at an ovarian cancer symptom index, which may improve specificity to malignancy detection. Ultimately, the clinical benefit of a marker depends on its behavior preceding the months and years prior to symptoms, while the malignancy is developing. The best screening test will detect the early-stage and noninvasive cancers.


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