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Liquid Biopsy Platform to Facilitate Triage of Adnexal Mass Malignancy
Despite advances in the understanding and management of high-grade serous carcinoma (HGSC), survival is currently poor when diagnosed at later stages, and detection is uncommon at early stages. A common symptom of ovarian cancer is an adnexal mass. An adnexal mass is a growth encompassing some malignant and many benign etiologies like ovarian cysts or endometriosis. Approximately 10% of adnexal masses that undergo biopsies are found to be malignant ovarian tumors. Due to the invasiveness of the biopsy procedure, only women who have abnormal biomarker levels are recommended to undergo an ovarian biopsy, despite the limitations of biomarkers in identifying disease. As a result, there are many women who undergo delayed ovarian cancer treatment due to non-abnormal biomarker readings on their initial screening, leading to worse patient outcomes.
Serum biomarker measurements are widely used as diagnostic indicators, but many markers are not sufficient to identify disease. Major factors limiting precise diagnosis using these biomarkers include their low disease sensitivity/specificity. Therefore, innovative approaches to improve diagnostic techniques are needed.
Our lab is using a type of nanosensor called a carbon nanotube, which can detect and respond to changes in serum composition and report a “disease fingerprint” of a malignant adnexal mass, circumventing many of the issues associated with current single-biomarker diagnostic approaches. If successful, this project will result in a game-changing technology for the improvement of HGSC clinical outcomes, facilitating rapid and minimally invasive patient triage.
Video credit: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
December 7, 2023