Navigation Links
Biological diversity of ovarian cancer lessens value of screening

DURHAM, NC Cancer prevention experts have long been frustrated by the lack of a meaningful way to screen women for ovarian cancer. It is a relatively rare disease that often progresses with few symptoms until it is too late for potentially curative treatments, and elevated values of the most commonly used biomarker used in screening, CA125, are also related to other disorders.

Now, scientists at the Duke Cancer Institute say that incorporating the latest information about the biological diversity of ovarian cancer appears to lessen the potential value of screening even further.

"I feel that what this and other studies are telling us is that we will have to do a whole lot more than screening to protect women from this terrible disease," said Laura Havrilesky, MD, an associate professor of gynecologic oncology at Duke and the lead author of the study appearing in the journal CANCER. "We need to work harder to find better approaches to screening and also consider the potential value of preventive strategies."

Until recently, ovarian cancer has been regarded as a single disease. But studies at Duke and elsewhere have shown that it has at least two distinct subtypes, a slow-growing, indolent form, which takes months to years to move into an advanced stage, and a more aggressive variety driven by key gene mutations that gallops through stages I and II in about half that time.

Havrilesky led a research team that used information in the SEER database to create a decision model for screening for ovarian cancer. The SEER database, maintained by the National Institutes of Health, includes information on cancer incidence, prevalence and survival in over a quarter of the U.S. population and breaks out ovarian cancer by type.

They then validated the model using early data from a real-life study, the U.K. Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS), a large, randomized trial that is using CA125 values and ultrasound to screen a general population of post-menopausal women for ovarian cancer.

In conceptualizing ovarian cancer as a single disease, the model predicted that screening women over the age of 50 in the United States could potentially lower cancer deaths by about 15 percent. But incorporating the two subtype concept, the model predicted deaths would fall by only 11 percent.

Havrilesky says it just makes sense: Screening is more likely to pick up a greater number of slow-growing, as opposed to fast-growing tumors, because indolent cancers remain in a more treatable early stage almost twice as long as their more virulent counterparts. "But catching and successfully treating the slower-growing cancers isn't going to do as much to reduce deaths from ovarian cancer as much as catching the more lethal tumors would do."

In an accompanying editorial, Patricia Hartge, MA, ScD, a senior investigator in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute, notes the modest benefit of screening for a general population, but says that screening for women at higher risk of ovarian cancer those who carry mutations known to be related to the disease or who have a family history of it presents a more hopeful picture.

But Havrilesky is not so sure. She says screening in even the highest risk population has not yet been proven successful and says other options are under study that may hold merit.

'We know that women who take oral contraceptives have a reduced risk of ovarian cancer, and the Duke Evidence-Based Practice Center is currently doing a systematic review and model to determine if this might be a reasonable approach for some women."


Contact: Michelle Gailiun
Duke University Medical Center

Related medicine news :

1. Study carried out into biological risks of eating reptiles
2. Biological clock could be a key to better health, longer life
3. New method to grow arteries could lead to biological bypass for heart disease
4. U of T researchers crack splicing code, solve a mystery underlying biological complexity
5. Adolescent brains biologically wired to engage in risky behavior, study finds
6. Length of biological marker associated with risk of cancer
7. Ticking biological clock increases womens libido, new research shows
8. Researchers uncover biological rationale for why intensive lupus treatment works
9. Multifunctional nanoparticle enables new type of biological imaging
10. Biological changes in suicidal patients
11. University of Utah and Harvard researchers take major step toward first biological test for autism
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... health policy issues and applications at AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting June 26-28, 2016, ... work on several important health care topics including advance care planning, healthcare costs ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... TX (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... the United States, named Dr. Sesan Ogunleye, as the Medical Director of its new ... the facility Medical Director of our new Mesquite location,” said Dr. James M. Muzzarelli, ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... Conventional wisdom preaches the benefits of moderation, whether it’s a matter of indulgence ... high can result in disappointment, perhaps even self-loathing. However, those who set the bar ... from reveals that behind the tendency to set low expectations is ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of control. ... and physically. , “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. ... rocks at my other children and say he was going to kill them. If ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Diego, CA (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... with the American Cancer Society and the Road To Recovery® program to drive cancer ... to seniors and other adults to ensure the highest quality of life and ongoing ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... of Australia,s successful biotechnology scientists, Dr ... company, Noxopharm Limited [ABN 50 608 966 123] ("Noxopharm"). Noxopharm is ... the ASX. Noxopharm is a clinic-ready company with its ... clinical study later this year. ... facing cancer patients - the ability of cancers to become resistant ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc (Nasdaq: JAZZ ... Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended ("HSR"), with ... ("Celator"; Nasdaq: CPXX ) expired effective June ... As previously announced on May 31, 2016, Jazz ... under which Jazz Pharmaceuticals has commenced a tender offer ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... OTTAWA, Ontario , June 27, 2016  VMS ... the Company,s Board will take whatever measures required to ... the Company,s stock which is currently listed on the ... S Wexler, Company Chairman and CEO, "We are seeing ... be difficult to understand, not only by the Company, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: