New research explains why some ovarian cancer patients are dying, while others survive, despite similar surgical and post-operative treatment. The findings show that the difference between life and death can many times be explained by the different biological properties of the tumors.
Understanding ovarian cancer biomarkers, such as clear cell tumors, and the exploration of specific tumor-targeted therapy, such as DNA profiling, will improve early stage diagnosis.
“Our findings show that continued research into identifying early-stage indicators for ovarian cancer will have a dramatic impact on long-term patient survival. Current practices, such as lymph node sampling, present only the first step towards an eventual cure,” says Ingiridur Skírnisdottir, lead author of the study.
Currently, less than 30 percent of women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed in the early stages of the disease, when it is confined to the ovaries (stage I) or when the spread has been limited to the pelvis (stage II).
Although the long-term prognosis is better for patients with early-stage disease (10-year survival rates range from 50-70 percent) than for patients with advanced disease (where the 10-year survival rate is only 15-25 percent), up to 50 percent of women with early-stage ovarian cancer will eventually relapse and succumb to ovarian cancer.
This study is published in the November/December issue of International Journal of Gynecological Cancer.
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