Researchers have identified three promising biological signals that could help detect ovarian cancer before patients display any symptoms of the disease.
The researchers are from Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute.
Researchers believe that identifying the biomarkers is another step toward early detection.
In the U.S. ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecological cancer, killing more than 15,000 women annually. According to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths for women. Ovarian cancer only accounts for about 3% of cancers among women yet it cause more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.
Doctors do not usually diagnose the cancer until it is already in the advanced stages. Only 15% of ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed early. Many symptoms of ovarian cancer are symptoms of other issues and don’t worry women such as bloating, abdominal pain, feeling full, and urinary symptoms.
Biomarkers will be able to combat the late detections.
Biomarkers are autoantibodies, a type of protein produced by the immune system. These autoantibodies do not cause the disease but they react as an early warning system that abnormal proteins produced by cancer are present in the body.
Doctors already use biomarkers in order to diagnose other diseases. Cholesterol tests are biomarkers for heart disease and blood pressure can indicate hypertension.
The study used high-density microarray technology that used samples of patients’ blood in order to identify biomarkers for ovarian cancer.
Arizona State University focuses its research on finding natural solutions to address global challenges in health care. The institute is also researching biomarkers in other cancers, including breast cancer.