Early Detection Research Network

The role of biomarkers in the management of epithelial ovarian cancer.

Despite advances in surgery and chemotherapy for ovarian cancer, 70% of women still succumb to the disease. Biomarkers have contributed to the management of ovarian cancer by monitoring response to treatment, detecting recurrence, distinguishing benign from malignant pelvic masses and attempting to detect disease at an earlier stage. Areas covered: This review focuses on recent advances in biomarkers and imaging for management of ovarian cancer with particular emphasis on early detection. Relevant literature has been reviewed and analyzed. Expert commentary: Rising or persistent CA125 blood levels provide a highly specific biomarker for epithelial ovarian cancer, but not an optimally sensitive biomarker. Addition of HE4, CA 72.4, anti-TP53 autoantibodies and other biomarkers can increase sensitivity for detecting early stage or recurrent disease. Detecting disease recurrence will become more important as more effective therapy is developed. Early detection will require the development not only of biomarker panels, but also of more sensitive and specific imaging strategies. Effective biomarker strategies are already available for distinguishing benign from malignant pelvic masses, but their use in identifying and referring patients with probable ovarian cancer to gynecologic oncologists for cytoreductive operations must be encouraged.

Bast RC, Lu Z, Yang WL

28468520

Expert Rev. Mol. Diagn., 2017, 17 (6)