Navigate Up
UPMC/University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Patients and medical professionals may call 1-800-533-UPMC (8762) for more information.

University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

Panel Of Proteins Identified That May Help Diagnose Ovarian Cancer Earlier

Novel Technology Allows Researchers to Analyze Multiple Proteins at Once

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 2, 2006 — The search for a specific protein that could help diagnose ovarian cancer in its early stages has for years eluded researchers who are seeking a reliable and accurate test for the disease. Instead of searching for a single protein, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine used a new technology to analyze a large number of proteins, or potential biomarkers, from a very small sample of serum from women with ovarian cancer. They identified a combination of several biomarkers that could help detect the disease much earlier than it is currently being diagnosed, according to findings presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, April 1 to 5 at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

“One of the most challenging problems with ovarian cancer is that we lack a reliable and accurate test that can detect it early when it is most responsive to treatment,” said Anna E. Lokshin, Ph.D., lead investigator and assistant professor of medicine and pathology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “By the time women are diagnosed, their cancers have already spread and are extremely difficult to treat successfully. To improve the long-term outcome for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, we sought to identify a panel of proteins that could signify the presence of early disease.”

In the study, Pitt researchers took advantage of a novel technology called LapMAP™ that is able to analyze multiple proteins in a single drop of blood or serum. They tested 450 serum samples for 46 biomarkers that had previously been correlated with ovarian cancer and were able to identify a multi-marker panel, comprised of 20 proteins that correctly recognized more than 98 percent of serum samples from women with ovarian cancer, offering higher diagnostic power than any other published assay for ovarian cancer.

“Through further examination, our goal is to develop this screening assay into a diagnostic test to improve the early detection of ovarian cancer and to monitor therapeutic response and recurrence in women with the disease,” said Dr. Lokshin.

Ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in 22,000 women in the U.S. this year alone. Despite aggressive surgery and chemotherapy approaches, the prognosis for ovarian cancer has been poor since the majority of women have advanced disease at the time it is detected – most women have a life expectancy of only three to four years after their diagnoses.

Co-authors of the study include Zoya Yurkovetky, Alex Lisovich, Brian Nolen, Adele M. Marrangoni, Lydmila Velikokhatnaya, Steven Skates and Elieser Gorelik, Ph.D., all with the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. The study is funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com