Earlier Diagnosis

Cancer cells might soon be discovered
earlier; © NCI Visuals Online

The statistics tell the story. Currently, three of every four women have advanced stage ovarian cancer when they are diagnosed, and only 25 percent of these women survive for five years. In contrast, the one woman in four diagnosed with early stage disease has a five-year survival rate exceeding 90 percent.

With the new research a simple blood test for early ovarian cancer screening might be developed sooner rather than later. The scientists have used sophisticated computer-modeling programs to interpret data from nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analyses of blood samples and produce cellular profiles that show the identities, structures and proportions of metabolites (metabonomics).

This NMR-based metabonomics approach has identified characteristics, known as biomarkers, in blood samples that can leave a “biomolecular signature” that distinguishes women with early stage ovarian cancer from healthy women. Scientists believe that these biomarkers could be developed into a screening test for ovarian cancer.

However, before this simple blood test can be developed, researchers will use the same approach to hone in on the specific metabolite (or metabolites) responsible for differences between healthy women and cancer patients, and make early diagnosis of ovarian cancer possible. These metabolites also could be targets for therapy.

Scientists believe that this NMR-based metabonomics approach will not only benefit thousands of women each year, but have practical implications in other types of cancer as well.

MEDICA.de; Source: Roswell Park Cancer Institute