Blood Test Predicts How Ovarian Cancer Patients Respond To Chemotherapy

Screening for cancer

A new blood test can predict how ovarian cancer patients will respond to Chemotherapy.

A study from the University of Cambridge, released on December 20, found that monitoring a specific cancer gene could help researchers assess how well patients responded to drug treatments.

The study measured the levels of the mutated cancer gene TP53 in 40 patients with high-grade ovarian cancer, before and after chemotherapy. Those who responded well to the treatment had a rapid fall in the level of the tumour DNA.

The TP53 gene is found in 99 per cent of individuals with ovarian cancer, and thus the test could be very useful.

“There’s a need for a test to find out quickly whether ovarian cancer patients are benefiting from chemotherapy. These are early results, but if bigger trials are successful, this test looking at the tumour DNA circulating in the blood could be a cheap, quick and easy way to get this information,” said James Brenton from the University of Cambridge.

Only one in three patients with ovarian cancer survive for longer than ten years.

Awareness about ovarian cancer in India is still relatively limited. The problem is that the symptoms of this cancer are non-specific. Symptoms include weight gain in the abdominal area, feeling full, difficulty eating, among others.

“This is one cancer where awareness is the key because it progresses silently, causing very subtle symptoms,” says oncologist Dr. Anil Heroor.

Almost three-fourths of women are diagnosed at the advanced third and fourth stage. 4 per cent of all cancers in women are cases of ovarian cancer.

According to India Spend, deaths due to ovarian cancer rose 123 per cent between 1990 and 2013.

Also Read: The threat of Cervical Cancer: The Importance of screening

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