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Discovery and application of protein biomarkers for ovarian cancer

Gagnon, Audreya; Ye, Binb

Current Opinion in Obstetrics & Gynecology: February 2008 - Volume 20 - Issue 1 - p 9–13
doi: 10.1097/GCO.0b013e3282f226a5
Gynecologic cancer: Edited by Anne O. Rodriguez

Purpose of review: To review the protein biomarker research field in ovarian cancer, including the discovered new biomarkers, biomarker panels, their potential clinical applications, and suggested strategies for biomarker discovery and development.

Recent findings: Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of death from cancer among North American women. Unfortunately, there is currently no reliable circulating biomarker that can detect ovarian cancer in its early stages. The CA125 biomarker is extremely valuable for treatment response monitoring, but its sensitivity is very low for early detection. There is an urgent need to identify new circulating biomarkers/panels of biomarkers that could diagnose ovarian cancer before it becomes clinically detectable and advanced. In the past decade, efforts have accelerated to identify such novel biomarkers/panels of serum and urine biomarkers. A couple of individual biomarkers and biomarker panels have been reported with adaptable sensitivity and specificity range, which might hold great potential to be further validated and developed for diagnosis and prognosis applications and to control ovarian cancer mortality.

Summary: The present review summarizes the main advances in the past year, with the lists of biomarkers/panels, their potential applications, and new strategies/lessons we learned based on the most important work published during this period.

aLaboratory of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

bDepartment of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Dana-Farber Harvard Cancer Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Correspondence to Bin Ye, PhD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Dana-Farber Harvard Cancer Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA Tel: +1617 732 6976; fax: +1 617 264 5248; e-mail: bye@partners.org

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.