Scientists from the Uppsala Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (LICR) have made a promising discovery that could improve the early diagnosis of breast and ovarian cancers through a simple blood test.
The LICR team, working in collaboration with a group at the Lviv Regional Oncology Center in Ukraine, discovered three proteins present in the blood of women with breast and ovarian cancer, but not in the blood of women without cancer, according to a study published today in the International Journal of Cancer.
"Attempts to find a single reliable early protein, or 'marker', for breast or ovarian cancer diagnosis have not been very successful," says LICR's Dr. Serhiy Souchelnytskyi, the senior author of the study. "However, the use of multiple markers clearly improves the diagnostic ability. There are indications that these markers may also one day be useful for prognosis of the disease course. The proteomics-based discoveries of combinations of markers are already stimulating the development of tests for monitoring the appearance and progression of cancer."
According to Dr. Kunle Odunsi from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in the USA, head of the international Cancer Vaccine Collaborative's Ovarian Cancer Initiative, a discovery such as this greatly improves the potential for predictive tests and thus the long-term outlook for patients. "Early detection is crucial for effective treatment, particularly for ovarian cancer. If we can use a simple blood screen to identify this cancer at a very early stage, we can almost certainly make a positive impact on patient health and survival."