On Oct. 9, 2023 a publication (Clinical Cancer Research) announced a new ovarian cancer screening test. The new test is called OvaPrint™. A total of 372 samples were examined for this paper. OvaPrint™ achieved a positive predictive value of 95% and a negative predictive value of 88%. This was for discriminating malignant epithelial ovarian carcinoma from benign ovarian masses. The researchers concluded that OvaPrint™is a highly sensitive and specific test to diagnose epithelial ovarian carcinoma. This is the most common ovarian cancer type.
Background about ovarian cancer
Ovarian cancer in the early stage does not have many symptoms. Some women experience pain or bloating in the belly. They may urinate more often and feel full too quickly during a meal. In about 10% of ovarian cancer there is a family history of cancer of the ovaries, colon or breasts. Ovarian cancer develops most often in women who are going through menopause. Obesity is a strong risk factor. It also causes a poorer long-term outcome. Most ovarian cancers are epithelial ovarian carcinomas. There are also tumors of low malignant potential (LMP). LMP ovarian tumors have a much better survival rate. Histologically, LMP looks different from an epithelial ovarian carcinoma. The 5-year survival rate is between 19% and 93% depending on the stage of the ovarian cancer. LMP’s have a 5-year survival rate of 89% to 97%.
Surgery for diagnosis and staging of ovarian cancer
Surgery determines the type and the stage of the ovarian cancer. When the cancer is not local, chemotherapy may be required following the surgery. Women who have taken the birth control pill for at least 5 years have half the risk of developing ovarian cancer. Women who had a tubal ligation as a permanent form of contraception also have less risk to develop ovarian cancer. A low-fat diet for 4 years was shown to cut the risk for ovarian cancer.
Other tests for ovarian cancer
Some types of ovarian cancers have the tumor marker, a protein with the name Ca125 on their surface. These types can be diagnosed by a blood test. But it is not specific as other conditions also test positive for this marker: endometriosis, fibroids, pregnancy and pelvic inflammatory disease.
A new ovarian screening test, OvaPrint™ has a positive predictive value of 95% and a negative predictive value of 88%. This was for discriminating malignant epithelial ovarian cancer from benign ovarian masses. Most ovarian cancers are of the malignant epithelial ovarian cancer type, which makes this test a valuable screening tool for ovarian cancer. It is much more specific for ovarian cancer than the CA125 test. However, the final diagnosis remains by biopsy followed by histological analysis of the cancer. The screening test is positive when a woman is asymptomatic, but already has an early ovarian cancer. An early biopsy can confirm the diagnosis and at the same time becomes part of the treatment.