Medical Research

published : 2023-10-13

Breakthrough Blood Test Could Detect Ovarian Cancer Early, Study Reveals

Innovative OvaPrint Test Shows Promise for Symptomatic and Asymptomatic Women

Dr. Joanie Mayor Hope speaking passionately about ovarian cancer awareness on 'Fox News Live'. Photo taken with Canon EOS R.

A groundbreaking study has unveiled the potential of a new blood test in detecting ovarian cancer at an early stage. The test, named OvaPrint, was developed by researchers from the University of Southern California (USC) and shows great promise in identifying high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC).

Ovarian cancer is often diagnosed in its advanced stages, making it difficult to treat effectively. However, if detected early, patients have a survival rate of over 90% for five years or more. With this in mind, the USC researchers focused on developing a screening tool specifically for HGSOC, the most common and lethal form of ovarian cancer.

The results of the study, published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, indicate that OvaPrint is highly sensitive and specific, particularly for women experiencing symptoms. The test achieved a positive predictive value of 95% and a negative predictive value of 88% for discriminating HGSOC from benign masses, surpassing other available commercial tests.

A scientist from the University of Southern California (USC) working in the lab to develop the OvaPrint blood test. Photo taken with Nikon D850.

Although OvaPrint was less sensitive for non-HGSOC ovarian cancers, it showed the potential to identify low-grade and borderline tumors with a higher malignant potential. Researchers aim to conduct a follow-up study involving hundreds of patients to validate and further optimize OvaPrint, with the goal of making it commercially available within the next two years.

Dr. Bodour Salhia, a researcher at USC, emphasized the importance of early detection for HGSOC. She stated that improved outcomes could be achieved for women affected by this disease if it can be detected in its earlier stages. Other attempts to develop ovarian cancer screening tools have not been successful, partly due to the need for distinct markers for different subtypes of the disease.

Dr. Brian Slomovitz, director of gynecologic oncology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, highlighted the significance of the study and clarified its scope. He explained that the OvaPrint test is intended for early detection in women with pelvic masses and is not a general screening test for normal-risk women. The test can help determine whether a mass is malignant and needs to be removed or if an oncologic surgeon should perform the surgery.

Illustration of a DNA strand and blood droplet, representing the groundbreaking research behind the OvaPrint test. Photo taken with Sony Alpha a7 III.

It is important to consider the prevalence of ovarian cancer when evaluating the effectiveness of early detection testing. The statistical outcomes of a screening test should not only demonstrate sensitivity and specificity but also have an acceptable negative predictive value to avoid missing any cancer diagnoses.

While further research and validation are needed, the groundbreaking potential of OvaPrint offers hope for early detection of ovarian cancer and improved survival rates. The development of an effective screening tool could revolutionize the diagnosis and treatment of this deadly disease.