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13-09-2009 | Gynaecology | Article

Immune reactions allow ovarian cancer detection and differentiation


Journal abstract

MedWire News: Circulating levels of tumor reactive immunoglobulin (Ig)G can detect the presence of ovarian cancer, with specific antigens also allowing early and late stage disease to be differentiated, the results of a US study indicate.

Douglas Taylor and colleagues from the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky assessed immunoreactivity in serum samples from 25 patients with stage I ovarian cancer, 25 with stage II disease, 40 with stage III disease, 25 with stage IV disease, 40 with benign ovarian disease, and 40 healthy controls.

In addition, proteins were isolated from human ovarian tumor cell lines and examined for immunoreactivity.

The team found that serum samples from ovarian cancer patients had significantly greater immunoreactivity than those from healthy controls and women with benign disease, which were negative to all antigens tested.

Specifically, sera from all stages of ovarian cancer showed significantly greater reactivity to nucleophosmin, cathepsin D, p53, and SSX common antigen. Stage III/IV ovarian cancer could be differentiated from early stage cancer via reactivity to placental type alkaline phosphatase, TAG 72, survivin, NY-ESO-1, GRP78, and Muc16 (CA125).

The team concludes: “The ability of the immune system to identify minor alterations in otherwise normal proteins creates a tool for the analysis of cancer-linked modifications and provides cancer specificity.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a part of Springer Science+Business Media. © Current Medicine Group Ltd; 2009

By Liam Davenport