Getting to Know Your Ovarian Cancer Type

Ovarian cancer genetic markers

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Knowing what kind of cancer you have is not as simple as you might think. In the case of ovarian cancer, a molecular test can now find out the specifics so that your treatment can be individualized.

In a concise laboratory experiment, scientists compared genetic similarities in 285 ovarian cancer samples in an attempt to isolate the key genetic differences between the various forms of ovarian cancer.

They then used data from treatment of those individuals to formulate the best treatment plan for future patients.

"Ask your oncologist about molecular testing."

Researchers from Duke University's Department of Pathology at the Duke University Medical Center noted a marked difference between malignant serous ovarian cancer, endometrioid ovarian cancer and low malignant potential ovarian carcinomas. They were able to establish the genetic markers for doctors to be able to tell the difference between each.

"We identified a very small set of genes that have the potential to be robust prognostic markers in epithelial ovarian cancer," explains lead investigator Michael B. Datto, M.D., Ph.D. "We also demonstrated the utility of a novel approach, bimodal gene discovery, in identifying clinically relevant expression targets."

In simpler terms, Dr. Datto believes that there are two major forms of ovarian cancer and that the best treatments for each is fairly different. It is therefore important to identify which form of ovarian cancer is present before starting treatment, and the molecular test for determining which is which is fairly easy.

Future plans to make the molecular test available were not announced. Upon commercialization, this test could be used to individualize ovarian cancer treatment resulting in better patient outcomes for ovarian cancer.

This research was published in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics on April 11, 2012..

The authors of the study denied any relevant financial relationships to third party organizations.

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Review Date: 
April 11, 2012
Last Updated:
April 14, 2012