Noninvasive biomarkers in ovarian cancer

Sharon A. O’Toole, Eugen Ancuta, Ream Langhe, Dolores J. Cahill, Mairead Murphy, Cara Martin, Lynda McEvoy, Cathy Spillane, Orla Sheils, Emmanuel Petricoin, Lance Liotta, John J. O’Leary

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


One of the major challenges in cancer research is the identification of stable biomarkers, which can be routinely measured noninvasively in easily accessible samples. Ovarian cancer is one such disease that would benefit from improved diagnostic markers. Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecological malignancy in the western world. The vast majority of patients present with advanced-stage disease, and this is due to lack of a reliable screening test and the absence of symptoms. Improved early detection of ovarian cancer is likely to have substantial effects on overall ovarian cancer survival and quality of life, since the disease demonstrates excellent survival with currently available therapies when diagnosed at an early stage. One way to facilitate early detection of ovarian cancer is through screening, but currently available diagnostic tools, including ovarian cancer biomarkers and clinical imaging, lack sufficient specificity and sensitivity for implementation in a population-based screening program. This chapter reviews currently available noninvasive biomarkers for the early detection of ovarian cancer and provides an outlook on the potential improvements in these noninvasive diagnostic tools that may lead to improved diagnosis of ovarian cancer. The utility of novel technologies to identify noninvasive biomarkers in ovarian cancer is discussed, such as miRNA detection, autoantibody profiling, and circulating tumor cell enumeration. The ability to sensitively and specifically predict the presence of early disease and its status, stage, and associated therapeutic efficacy has the potential to revolutionize ovarian cancer detection and treatment and to greatly improve the quality of life and survival rates of ovarian cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCancer Biomarkers
Subtitle of host publicationMinimal and Noninvasive Early Diagnosis and Prognosis
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9781466584297
ISBN (Print)9781466584280
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomarker
  • Diagnosis
  • Early detection
  • Noninvasive
  • Ovarian cancer


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