Development of a Multimarker Assay for Early Detection of Ovarian Cancer

Purpose Early detection of ovarian cancer has great promise to improve clinical outcome.

Patients and Methods Ninety-six serum biomarkers were analyzed in sera from healthy women and from patients with ovarian cancer, benign pelvic tumors, and breast, colorectal, and lung cancers, using multiplex xMAP bead-based immunoassays. A Metropolis algorithm with Monte Carlo simulation (MMC) was used for analysis of the data.

Results A training set, including sera from 139 patients with early-stage ovarian cancer, 149 patients with late-stage ovarian cancer, and 1,102 healthy women, was analyzed with MMC algorithm and cross validation to identify an optimal biomarker panel discriminating early-stage cancer from healthy controls. The four-biomarker panel providing the highest diagnostic power of 86% sensitivity (SN) for early-stage and 93% SN for late-stage ovarian cancer at 98% specificity (SP) was comprised of CA-125, HE4, CEA, and VCAM-1. This model was applied to an independent blinded validation set consisting of sera from 44 patients with early-stage ovarian cancer, 124 patients with late-stage ovarian cancer, and 929 healthy women, providing unbiased estimates of 86% SN for stage I and II and 95% SN for stage III and IV disease at 98% SP. This panel was selective for ovarian cancer showing SN of 33% for benign pelvic disease, SN of 6% for breast cancer, SN of 0% for colorectal cancer, and SN of 36% for lung cancer.

Conclusion A panel of CA-125, HE4, CEA, and VCAM-1, after additional validation, could serve as an initial stage in a screening strategy for epithelial ovarian cancer.

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