It could be a breakthrough in the early detection of ovarian cancer, According to a 14-year-study of more than 200,000 women in Britain, a new version of a screening test for the disease may reduce deaths, but it needs more study to determine whether the benefits hold up.
The study results have been long awaited because ovarian cancer has a poor prognosis. There are usually no symptoms in the early stages, so most cases are advanced by the time they are found. Only about 45 percent of ovarian cancer patients are still alive five years after a diagnosis.
In previous studies, the blood test for a protein called CA125 did not work, but this time researchers used the test in a different way. Instead of declaring a certain level abnormal, they developed a mathematical formula that calculated the degree of change in CA125 over time, and used it to come up with a risk score. However, this research, published in The Lancet only passed two of three tests of statistical significance, so more study is needed.