Amy Patrice Skubitz, PhD
University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
Minneapolis, MN, United States
2019 Cookie Laughlin Pilot Study Award
Research in Focus: Early detection of ovarian cancer
Validation of a multi-protein classifier for detecting early stages of ovarian cancer
Early detection of ovarian cancer is needed to increase patient survival by identifying the disease when it is most treatable. However, there is currently no blood test sensitive and specific enough to screen women in the general population. Although many proteins have been reported to be present at higher levels in the blood of women with ovarian cancer, no single protein has been sufficient to detect early stages of cancer. Dr. Skubitz and colleagues hypothesize that that multiple proteins need to be combined into one clinical blood test in order for the test to successfully identify women with ovarian cancer. They have screened hundreds of blood samples from healthy women and women with ovarian cancer on Proseek® Multiplex Oncology II plates. These plates use the latest technology to simultaneously determine the levels of 92 cancer-related proteins in one drop of a patient’s blood. By performing complex statistical analyses, Dr. Skubitz and colleagues have identified several proteins as potential biomarker candidates for ovarian cancer detection. In preliminary studies, they combined multiple candidate biomarkers into a mathematical formula that allows them to discriminate between blood from healthy women versus women with ovarian cancer. In this study, they will validate their biomarker formula by testing blood samples from 88 women with early stages of ovarian cancer and 264 healthy women on Oncology II plates. The goal of this study is to develop a test to detect ovarian cancer in its earliest, most treatable stage.