A team of scientists have developed a new blood test they call biomarker test, which could potentially offer better diagnostics of ovarian cancer and eliminate the need for surgery.The test was conducted by a team of researchers from Uppsala University and the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.
How does the test work? The biomarker test is designed to examine 11 proteins to be able to rule out women with this form of cancer. It is conducted on a blood sample so an ultrasound can detect any abnormalities.
Researchers say a large group of women who go through surgery to determine whether or not they have ovarian cancer don't have it. The team hopes the new test could reduce the number of surgeries in women who are suspected of having this disease.
Generally, ovarian cancer is detected at a very late stage. Only about four out of 10 patients survive five years after they have received treatment. Currently, there is no test designed specifically to screen for this purpose. As of now, women who discover ovarian cyst or symptoms of the disease take an ultrasound to check for any abnormalities. In these cases, surgery is the only option to ensure that all the cancers are identified. Therefore, many women sometimes undergo unnecessary surgery.
"We need to develop more accurate pre-surgery diagnostics. To detect one cancer, we operate on up to five women - yet this is currently the best option when abnormalities are detected by ultrasound and cancer is suspected. There is a great need for a simple blood test that could identify women who do not need surgery," Karin Sundfeldt, Professor and Senior Consultant at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Institute of Clinical Sciences at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, told a news portal.
Not only could the new test reduce the risk of complications related to surgery, but it could also reduce the rate of cases in which medical professional chose to operate. Researchers speculate it could go from one in five to one in three.
According to researchers, biomarker test can also detect early stages of ovarian cancer. "Our results are promising enough to consider screening for early discovery of ovarian cancer. In Sweden, we have long experience of screening for cervical cancer. I see great prospects of developing a strategy for screening for ovarian cancer as well, which could save lives and minimise the need for surgery to rule out cancer," Ulf Gyllensten, Professor of Medical Molecular Genetics at the Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology at Uppsala University, told a news portal.
The study was originally published in the Journal of Communications Biology.