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New blood test can detect ovarian cancer up to two years faster, says study

The study, led by UK scientists, says the blood test will identify biomarker panel — 4 proteins put together — that indicates possibility of Epithelial Ovarian Cancer.

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New Delhi: A new blood test can now detect signs of ovarian cancer up to two years earlier than the time taken for diagnosis of the disease at present, with scientists having identified key proteins’ markers associated with the deadly disease.

The scientists from Queen’s University Belfast, University of New South Wales in Australia and University of Manchester have discovered that the presence of a biomarker panel — four proteins put together — indicates the possibility of Epithelial Ovarian Cancer (EOC).

The new blood test will identify this biomarker panel for detection of ovarian cancer up to two years faster.

Most ovarian cancers are EOC, which forms in the tissue covering the ovary. If EOC is diagnosed at stage I, there is 90 per cent chance of surviving for at least five more years, while it is 22 per cent if diagnosed at stage III or IV.

The study carried out by the scientists was published in the journal Nature earlier this month and carried out in partnership with the University of Milan and the University College London.

“The algorithm designed will screen the blood sample and flag any abnormal levels of the proteins associated with the cancer. The screening test identifies ovarian cancer up to two years before the current tests allow,” says a statement from Queen’s University Belfast, quoting Bobby Graham who led the research.

Seven-year study

For the research, the scientists had collected blood samples from 80 women — 49 with EOC and 31 with no family history of EOC and no diagnosis of cancer — over a period of seven years.

“Around half of ovarian cancer cases are picked up at a late stage, when treatment is less likely to be successful. Developing simple tests like these that could help detect the disease sooner is essential,” the statement quoted Rachel Shaw of Cancer Research UK, which funded the research along with The Eve Appeal charity.

Third most common cancer among Indian women

Ovarian cancer is reportedly the third most commonly detected cancer among Indian women and the seventh most common cancer in the world.

Gene variants BRCA1 and BRCA2 increase the risk of ovarian cancer.

According to a study by The Lancet published last year, the rate of ovarian cancer in India increased substantially by 28.6 per cent between 1990 and 2016.

In 2016, there were nearly 26,000 new cases of ovarian cancer, apart from 76,000 already prevalent cases. The number of new cases was highest in Kerala, followed by Delhi, Arunachal Pradesh and Punjab that year.

Also read: Drug to replace chemotherapy may reshape cancer care


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