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Proteomic analysis for early detection of ovarian cancer: A realistic approach?
  1. E. V. Stevens,
  2. L. A. Liotta and
  3. E. C. Kohn
  1. Laboratory of Pathology, National Cancer Institute, Center for Cancer Research, Bethesda, MD
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Dr Elise C. Kohn, MD, 10 Center Drive MSC 1500, Building 10, Room B1B51, Bethesda, MD 20892-1500. Email: kohne{at}


Ovarian cancer is a multifaceted disease wherein most women are diagnosed with advanced stage disease. One of the most imperative issues in ovarian cancer is early detection. Biomarkers that allow cancer detection at stage I, a time when the disease is amenable to surgical and chemotherapeutic cure in over 90% of patients, can dramatically alter the horizon for women with this disease. Recent developments in mass spectroscopy and protein chip technology coupled with bioinformatics have been applied to biomarker discovery. The complexity of the proteome is a rich resource from which the patterns can be gleaned; the pattern rather than its component parts is the diagnostic. Serum is a key source of putative protein biomarkers, and, by its nature, can reflect organ-confined events. Pioneering use of mass spectroscopy coupled with bioinformatics has been demonstrated as being capable of distinguishing serum protein pattern signatures of ovarian cancer in patients with early- and late-stage disease. This is a sensitive, precise, and promising tool for which further validation is needed to confirm that ovarian cancer serum protein signature patterns can be a robust biomarker approach for ovarian cancer diagnosis, yielding improved patient outcome and reducing the death and suffering from ovarian cancer.

  • biomarker
  • mass spectroscopy
  • ovarian cancer
  • proteomic

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