Dr. Karen Lu, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, led a team that developed a test that detects ovarian cancer earlier than any other test method presently available according to a report in the Aug. 26, 2013, issue of the journal Cancer.
The blood protein CA125 (cancer antigen 125) is known as an indicator for ovarian cancer and has been known as such for 30 years. Even with this knowledge there is no standardized screening method for ovarian cancer.
The researcher evaluated 4,051 post-menopausal women with an annual CA125 blood test. They segregated the women based on the presence and levels of CA125 into three groups. The three groups indicated which women should be monitored yearly, which women should have another CA125 protein test in three months, and which women should have an immediate ultrasound to detect active ovarian cancer. The study lasted for eleven years.
Six times as many women as average were determined to need further testing for ovarian cancer with the CA125 test. The CA125 test was 99.9 percent accurate. The accuracy indicates the lack of false positives.
The objective of the research is to change present practice to detect ovarian cancer earlier using the blood test for CA125.