Most of the times, ovarian cancer is difficult to predict until it spreads to the other parts of the body. Achieving a breakthrough in the field of cancer diagnosis, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have figured out a way to diagnose ovarian cancer when it is at its early stage, that too with a striking accuracy.
The research team said that studying blood serum compounds of different molecular weights establishes a biomarker that can be used as a highly effective tool to screen early-stage ovarian cancer.
During the study, the researchers used a combination of advanced liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry techniques and computational algorithms to successfully identify and separate 46 women with early-stage ovarian cancer from 49 women who did not have the disease.
The techniques used by the researchers enabled them to identify 16 metabolite compounds that helped them distinguish between women with high accuracy. The blood samples that were analyzed during the study were collected from Canada, Philadelphia and Atlanta.
"This work provides a proof of concept that using an integrated approach combining analytical chemistry and learning algorithms may be a way to identify optimal diagnostic features," said researcher John McDonald of the Georgia Institute of Technology, in a statement. "We think our results show great promise and we plan to further validate our findings across much larger samples."
Although the study results seem promising, more extensive research and a larger study is required to confirm whether the diagnostic accuracy is maintained over a larger population of women or women across diverse racial or ethnic groups.
Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of death among women in the United States. The disease, which is considered to the most lethal of all gynecologic malignancies, is essentially asymptomatic during the initial stage.
However, if the disease is identified at an early stage, the survival rate among the females remains close to 90 percent. This is the main reason why researchers around the world have been trying so hard in the past to figure out a way to diagnose ovarian cancer at an early stage.
The complete details of the study have been published in the journal Scientific Reports.