|Samples ready for testing in an ultra-performance liquid |
chromatography-mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS) instrument
(Credit: Rob Felt, Georgia Tech)
Studying blood serum compounds of different molecular weights has led scientists to a set of biomarkers that may enable development of a highly accurate screening test for early-stage ovarian cancer. The research is reported in the journal Scientific Reports.
Using advanced liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry techniques coupled with machine learning computer algorithms, researchers have identified 16 metabolite compounds that provided unprecedented accuracy - greater than 90 percent - in distinguishing 46 women with early-stage ovarian cancer from a control group of 49 women who did not have the disease.
While the set of biomarkers reported in this study are the most accurate reported thus far for early-stage ovarian cancer, more extensive testing across a larger population will be needed to determine if the high diagnostic accuracy will be maintained across a larger group of women representing a diversity of ethnic and racial groups.
Ovarian cancer has been difficult to treat because it typically is not diagnosed until after it has metastasized to other areas of the body. Researchers have been seeking a routine screening test that could diagnose the disease in stage one or stage two - when the cancer is confined to the ovaries.
The researchers have also used a similar approach with prostate cancer and plan to explore its utility for detecting other types of cancer.
Based on material originally posted by Georgia Institute of Technology.