Ovarian malignancies are a leading cause of cancer death in women because they are usually detected in the late stages when the disease is incurable. Encouraging new research presented by Abbott at the American Association for Clinical Chemistry annual meeting, held July 19–23, 2009, in Chicago, shows that a novel diagnostic marker, human epididymal protein 4 or HE4, combined with other tests, can be used to more effectively monitor for early-stage ovarian cancer (EOC), improving treatment options for many of the 22,000 women in the United States who develop this deadly disease each year.
New research on HE4 presented by Richard Moore, MD, associate professor in the Program for Women’s Oncology at Women and Infants’ Hospital/Brown University, at a scientific workshop hosted by Abbott, provides important validation for the use of the HE4 test in combination with CA-125, the current standard for monitoring ovarian cancer, in estimating EOC risk in women presenting with pelvic masses. The HE4 test was developed through research efforts aimed at identifying combinations of biomarkers to add sensitivity to the CA-125 test, which is limited in its sensitivity and specificity, as well as its ability to monitor early-stage epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC).
“Our results show that the dual marker combination of HE4 and CA-125 can aid in the differentiation of benign pelvic masses from ovarian malignancies in women diagnosed with a pelvic mass,” said Dr. Moore. “This is exciting as it will help us improve the care we give to the many women who are afflicted by this deadly disease.”