Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Biological diversity of ovarian cancer lessens value of screening

Date:
January 3, 2011
Source:
Duke University Medical Center
Summary:
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.

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.

Related Articles


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."

The research was supported by a grant from the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology/American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Foundation.

Colleagues from Duke who contributed to the study include senior author Evan Myers, Gillian Sanders, Junzo Chino, Andrew Berchuck and Jeffrey Marks. Co-author Shalini Kulasingam is from the University of Minnesota.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Duke University Medical Center. "Biological diversity of ovarian cancer lessens value of screening." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101213075125.htm>.
Duke University Medical Center. (2011, January 3). Biological diversity of ovarian cancer lessens value of screening. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101213075125.htm
Duke University Medical Center. "Biological diversity of ovarian cancer lessens value of screening." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101213075125.htm (accessed October 26, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

AFP (Oct. 25, 2014) — An American nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas has been declared free of the virus and will leave the hospital. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Newsy (Oct. 25, 2014) — A Harvard University Research Team created genetically engineered stem cells that are able to kill cancer cells, while leaving other cells unharmed. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins