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PapDREAMing for the detection of premalignant ovarian cancer
Ovarian cancer remains the most lethal of all types of gynecologic cancer (the so called “silent killer”). The high mortality (~70%) of the disease is due to the fact that HGSC almost always remains undiagnosed until advanced stages, when curative treatment is no longer possible. Accordingly, it is proposed that the goal of screening should focus on the detection of low volume disease at early and precursor stages. Toward this end, we and our collaborators previously demonstrated that sequencing-based approaches (PapGene and PapSEEK) can identify gynecological cancers by detecting somatic mutations in DNA derived from cervical-vaginal fluid (CVF) obtained during a routine Pap smear. While these mutation-based approaches have shown great promise for early detection of endometrial cancers, neither they, nor any other diagnostic modality, has yet achieved the performance and affordability required for use as a general screening tool for ovarian cancer. There thus remains an urgent need for an improved approach to early detection of this deadly malignancy. Thanks to the kind support by the Honorable Tina Brozman Foundation, we have recently identified unique epigenetic markers as being highly sensitive and specific to ovarian cancer, even at early, precursor stages of the disease. Here, we seek to develop and employ a new technical platform, termed PapDREAM, to detect and quantify tumor-derived DNA within CVF using a panel of four to six epigenetic (methylation) biomarkers. The current project is to build on this success and to establish a prototype of a clinical assay that can be delivered to clinics.
CLICK HERE to read our Researcher Spotlight blog post featuring Dr. Shih.
February, 2019: TINA’S WISH RESEARCHER DR. IE-MING SHIH PUBLISHES PAPER ON THE ORIGIN OF OVARIAN CANCER
October 23, 2017: OVARIAN CANCER MAY ACTUALLY ARISE IN FALLOPIAN TUBES
October 18, 2017: MANY PELVIC TUMORS IN WOMEN MAY HAVE COMMON ORIGIN: FALLOPIAN TUBES