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Ovarian cancer in the proteomics era: diagnosis, prognosis, and therapeutics targets
  1. E. A. BOYCE and
  2. E. C. KOHN
  1. Laboratory of Pathology, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Elise C. Kohn, MD, Molecular Signaling Section, Laboratory of Pathology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, 10 Center Drive, MSC 1500, Bethesda, MD 20892-1500, USA. Email: ek1b{at}


Ovarian cancer is clinically quiet as it plants seeds of metastases in the peritoneal cavity, even during early stages when there is highest potential for cure. The only available biomarker is CA125, which has an unacceptably low sensitivity and specificity for diagnostic use. Highly sensitive and specific tools to further optimize early diagnosis and treatment are needed. We propose that proteomic technologies have an important role to play in the development of these tools. Mass spectrometry platforms, such as surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight, may be used to mine patient's serum for proteomic signatures that are shed by tumor and stroma. Such signatures could serve as a diagnostic tool during early-stage disease and as a remission-monitoring tool in later-stage disease. Reverse-phase protein microarrays are a new microproteomic tool to profile signaling pathways in ovarian cancer, thus identifying therapeutic targets while simultaneously suggesting prognostic indicators. Proteomic technologies have the capacity to build upon our genomic and clinical understanding of ovarian cancer by moving the focal point to the tumor and its microenvironment. This unique proteomic vantage point allows the creation of tools that will aid clinicians in making rational decisions in the diagnosis and treatment of women with ovarian cancer.

  • biomarker
  • mass spectroscopy
  • ovarian cancer
  • proteomics

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