Approaches for Diagnosing Ovarian Cancer


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The early diagnosis of OvCa and corresponding efforts from the medical community in this regard are important in increasing patient survival and reducing treatment costs. Diagnostic imaging technologies, such as ultrasonography, and the use of biomarkers and screening tests are the available methods for detecting OvCa.

Vaginal and pelvic examinations: Patients with vaginal or pelvic masses are tested by one or two doctors of registrar grade. An abnormal examination is defined as a palpable pelvic mass of any size that can be clinically distinct from the uterus and gastrointestinal tract. The problem with pelvic examinations is that they are not useful in the distinction of early or premalignant lesions from a normal ovary. Evidence showed that the sensitivity and specificity of detecting a pelvic mass on the basis of a pelvic exam alone are about 40% and 90%, respectivelym       .

Diagnostic imaging: Transvaginal ultrasonography, sonography and color Doppler are the most frequently adopted approach techniques for detecting and assessing OvCa and tumor vascularity. Given the limited sensitivity and specificity of these methods, however, they are usually implemented in combination, along with tumor markers and screening tests .

Serum biomarkers: Biomarkers play major roles in medicinal biology. Biomarkers help in early diagnosis, disease prevention, drug target identification, drug response etc. Several biomarkers have been identified for many diseases such as serum LDL for cholesterol, blood pressure, and P53 gene and MMPs as tumor markers for cancer.

Risk of Ovarian Malignancy Algorithm (ROMA): A Risk of Ovarian Malignancy Algorithm (ROMA) classifies patients as being at low or high risk for malignant disease using both the CA125 and HE4 results and a woman's menopausal status.

KRAS: KRAS, which is a membrane of the RAS protein, is a GTPase and an early player in many signal transduction pathways. The normal KRAS protein performs a necessary role in normal tissue signaling, and the mutation of a KRAS gene is a necessary step in the development of many cancers.

EGFR: EGFR is a kind of tyrosine receptor kinase for an epidermal growth factor that is substantially important for normal cell function. Mutation in this receptor may contribute to the transformation of cellular phenotypes into tumor cells with high proliferation and may increase survival rate.

MicroRNAs (miRNAs): MicroRNAs are a type of non-coding RNA of about 21 to 24 nucleotides in length and act in the post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. Typically, miRNAs interact with specific mRNAs through complementary base pairing, thereby influencing the translation or stability of a target mRNA molecule 

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Julia Gillard
Managing Editor
Journal of Molecular Cancer
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