U.S. President Barack Obama Proclaims September 2011 As National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month — What Should You Know?

Today, U.S. President Barack Obama designated September 2010 as National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. During National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, Libby’s H*O*P*E*™ will honor the women who have lost their lives to the disease, support those who are currently battling the disease, and celebrate with those who have beaten the disease. 

Today, U.S. President Barack Obama designated September 2010 as National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. During National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, Libby’s H*O*P*E*™ will honor the women who have lost their lives to the disease, support those who are currently battling the disease, and celebrate with those who have beaten the disease. This month, medical doctors, research scientists, and ovarian cancer advocates renew their commitment to develop a reliable early screening test, improve current treatments, discover new groundbreaking therapies, and ultimately, defeat the most lethal gynecologic cancer.

Let us begin this month with several important facts relating to ovarian cancer. Please take time to review these facts — they may save your life or that of a loved one.

Ovarian Cancer Facts

  • Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.
  • In 2011, the American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that there will be approximately 21,990 new ovarian cancer cases diagnosed in the U.S. ACS estimates that 15,460 U.S. women will die from the disease, or about 42 women per day or 1 women every 30 minutes.
  • Ovarian cancer is not a “silent” disease; it is a “subtle” disease. Recent studies indicate that women with ovarian cancer are more like to experience four persistent, nonspecific symptoms as compared with women in the general population, such as (i) bloating, (ii) pelvic or abdominal pain, (iii) difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, or (iv) urinary urgency or frequency. Women who experience such symptoms daily for more than a few weeks should seek prompt medical evaluation.
  • Several other symptoms have been commonly reported by women with ovarian cancer. These symptoms include fatigue, indigestion, back pain, pain with intercourse, constipation and menstrual irregularities. However, these other symptoms are not as useful in identifying ovarian cancer because they are also found in equal frequency in women in the general population who do not have the disease.
  • Pregnancy and the long-term use of oral contraceptives reduce the risk of developing ovarian cancer.
  • Women who have had breast cancer, or who have a family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer may have increased risk. Inherited mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene increase a woman’s lifetime risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Women of Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish ancestry are at higher risk (1 out of 40) for inherited BRCA gene mutations.
  • There is no reliable screening test for the detection of early stage ovarian cancer. Pelvic examination only occasionally detects ovarian cancer, generally when the disease is advanced. A Pap smear cannot detect ovarian cancer. However, the combination of a thorough pelvic exam, transvaginal ultrasound, and a blood test for the tumor marker CA-125 may be offered to women who are at high risk of ovarian cancer and to women who have persistent, unexplained symptoms like those listed above.
  • If diagnosed at the localized stage, the 5-year ovarian cancer survival rate is 92%; however, only about 19% of all cases are detected at this stage, usually fortuitously during another medical procedure.
  • The 10-year relative survival rate for all disease stages combined is only 38%.

Help Spread the Word To “B-E-A-T” Ovarian Cancer 

Please help us “B-E-A-T” ovarian cancer by spreading the word about the early warning signs & symptoms of the disease throughout the month of September.

B = bloating that is persistent and does not come and go

E = eating less and feeling fuller

A =abdominal or pelvic pain

T = trouble with urination (urgency or frequency)

Women who have these symptoms almost daily for more than a few weeks should see their doctor. Prompt medical evaluation may lead to detection at the earliest possible stage of the disease. Early stage diagnosis is associated with an improved prognosis.

Presidential Proclamation–National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release September 01, 2011

Presidential Proclamation–National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

NATIONAL OVARIAN CANCER AWARENESS MONTH, 2011

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Ovarian cancer continues to have one of the highest mortality rates of any cancer, and it is a leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the United States. This month, we remember the mothers, sisters, and daughters we have lost to ovarian cancer, and we extend our support to those living with this disease. We also reaffirm our commitment to raising awareness about ovarian cancer, and to advancing our screening and treatment capabilities for the thousands of American women who will be diagnosed this year.

Ovarian cancer touches women of all backgrounds and ages. Because of a lack of early symptoms and effective screening tests, ovarian cancer is often not detected in time for successful interventions. It is crucial that women know how to recognize the warning signs of gynecological cancers and can detect the disease as early as possible. I encourage all women to learn about risk factors, including family history, and to discuss possible symptoms, including abdominal pain, with their doctor. Now, because of the Affordable Care Act, a wide range of preventive screenings are available to women without any copayments, deductibles, or coinsurance.

My Administration is committed to supporting the women, families, and professionals working to end this disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services have started a campaign to educate women on cancers affecting reproductive organs. The National Cancer Institute is researching new ways to detect ovarian cancer, publishing a comprehensive study of the most aggressive types of ovarian cancer, and conducting clinical trials for new combinations of therapy. And this year, agencies across the Federal Government, from the National Institutes of Health to the Department of Defense, have committed to supporting ovarian cancer prevention and treatment research.

So many lives have been touched by ovarian cancer — from the women who fight this disease, to the families who join their loved ones in fighting their battle. In the memory of all the brave women who have lost their lives to ovarian cancer, and in support of generations of women to come, let us recommit to reaching a safer, healthier future for all our citizens.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 2011 as National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. I call upon citizens, government agencies, organizations, health-care providers, and research institutions to raise ovarian cancer awareness and continue helping Americans live longer, healthier lives. And I urge women across the country to talk to their health-care providers and learn more about this disease.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.

BARACK OBAMA

Sources:

  • Presidential Proclamation–National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month 2011, issued September 1, 2011.
  • Ovarian Cancer Symptoms Consensus Statement, Originating Organizations — Gynecologic Cancer Foundation, Society of Gynecologic Oncology & American Cancer Society, January – April, 2007.


Mesothelin Antibodies Occur In Some Women With An Epidemiologic Risk For Ovarian Cancer.

Researchers at Rush University Medical Center discover mesothelin antibodies in the bloodstream of infertile women, who possess a higher risk of ovarian cancer.

Using a new approach to developing biomarkers for the very early detection of ovarian cancer, researchers at Rush University Medical Center have identified a molecule in the bloodstream of infertile women, who possess a higher risk of ovarian cancer. This finding may be relevant in the future for screening women at high risk for the disease — or even those with early-stage ovarian cancer.

The molecule — an antibody that the human body manufactures — is an autoimmune response to mesothelin. Mesothelin a well-characterized ovarian cancer antigen and protein which is found in abundance on the surface of ovarian cancer cells, but present only in limited amounts in normal human tissue.

The study is published in the August 16 online version issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, published by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

Judith Luborsky, Ph.D., Lead Study Author; Professor, Pharmacology, Obstetrics & Gynecology and Preventive Medicine, Rush Medical College

“The finding is extremely important because at present medical tests are unable to detect ovarian cancer in its early stages, which is why death rates from this disease are so high,” said Judith Luborsky, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology, obstetrics and gynecology and preventive medicine at Rush and the lead author of the study.

“Our approach to discovering cancer biomarkers was unique in this study. Instead of investigating molecules specific to ovarian cancer alone, we asked what molecules women with a risk of ovarian cancer and those with ovarian cancer had in common,” Luborsky said.

The study may have enabled the researchers to explain, in part, the link between infertility and ovarian cancer that has been established in numerous epidemiological surveys.

“More important, with the discovery of the mesothelin antibody, we now have what appears to be a biomarker that can potentially be used in screening tests to help us conquer ovarian cancer,” Luborsky said.

According to the American Cancer Society’s most recent estimates, it is anticipated that 21,900 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2011, and approximately 15,460 deaths will occur in connection with the disease. Ovarian cancer is the ninth most common cancer in women (not counting skin cancer) and ranks as the fifth highest cause of cancer death in women. It is the most lethal gynecologic cancer. The poor prognosis for women with ovarian cancer is due to the lack of both clinical symptoms when the cancer first develops and the absence of laboratory tests specific to the disease.

In the study at Rush, researchers tested for mesothelin antibodies in the bloodstream of 109 women who were infertile; 28 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, 24 women with benign ovarian tumors or cysts, and 152 healthy women. Causes of infertility included endometriosis, ovulatory dysfunction, and premature ovarian failure. Some causes of infertility were unexplained.

Significant levels of mesothelin antibodies were found in women with premature ovarian failure, ovulatory dysfunction and unexplained infertility, as well as in women with ovarian cancer. The same results were not found in women with endometriosis, good health, or benign disease. Endometriosis is generally associated with the clear cell and endometrioid subtypes of epithelial ovarian cancer, as compared to other forms of the disease associated with infertility, which may explain why mesothelin antibodies were not found in the endometriosis cases.

It is important to emphasize that the explanation as to why the presence of mesothelin antibodies in the bloodstream should be linked with ovarian cancer is not clear.

“It has been hypothesized that an autoimmune response precedes or somehow contributes to the development and progression of malignant tumors,” Luborsky said. “We think that antibodies may arise in response to very early abnormal changes in ovarian tissue that may or may not progress to malignancy, depending on additional triggering events. Or, alternatively, antibodies may bind to normal cells in the ovary, causing dysfunction and leading to infertility — and, in a subpopulation of women, to the development of ovarian cancer.”

Other researchers involved in the study were Yi Yu, MS, and Seby Edassery, MS, both from Rush, as well as a group led by Ingegerd Hellstrom, M.D., Ph.D., and Karl Eric Hellstrom, M.D., Ph.D., which included Yuan Yee Yip, BS, Jade Jaffar, BS, and Pu Liu, Ph.D. from Harborview Medical Center at the University of Washington.

The study was supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health and Fujirebio Diagnostics, Inc.

About Rush

Rush is a not-for-profit academic medical center comprising Rush University Medical Center, Rush University, Rush Oak Park Hospital and Rush Health.

Rush’s mission is to provide the best possible care for its patients. Educating tomorrow’s health care professional, researching new and more advanced treatment options, transforming its facilities and investing in new technologies—all are undertaken with the drive to improve patient care now, and for the future.

Sources:

  • Luborsky JL, et al. Autoantibodies to Mesothelin in Infertility. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2011 Aug 16. PubMed PMID: 21846819 [Epub ahead of print]
  • Researchers at Rush University Medical Center Discover Antibody That May Help Detect Ovarian Cancer in its Earliest Stages, News Release, Rush University Medical Center, August 16, 2010.

2011 ASCO: Screening With CA-125 & Transvaginal Ultrasound Does Not Reduce Ovarian Cancer Death Rate, Results in High Number of False Positives

Findings from a large, long-term study – the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Screening Trial – showed that using a CA-125 blood test and transvaginal ultrasound for early detection of ovarian cancer did not reduce the risk of dying from the disease, and resulted in a large number of false positives and related follow-up procedures.

ASCO Releases Studies From Upcoming Annual Meeting – Important Advances in Targeted Therapies, Screening, and Personalized Medicine

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) today highlighted several studies in a press briefing from among more than 4,000 abstracts publicly posted online at http://www.asco.org in advance of ASCO’s 47th Annual Meeting. An additional 17 plenary, late-breaking and other major studies will be released in on-site press conferences at the Annual Meeting.

The meeting, which is expected to draw approximately 30,000 cancer specialists, will be held June 3-7, 2011, at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill. The theme of this year’s meeting is “Patients. Pathways. Progress.”

“This year marks the 40th anniversary of the signing of the National Cancer Act, a law that led to major new investments in cancer research. Every day in our offices, and every year at the ASCO meeting, we see the results of those investments. People with cancer are living longer, with a better quality of life, than ever before,” said George W. Sledge Jr., M.D., President of ASCO, Ballve-Lantero Professor of Oncology and professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

“With our growing understanding of the nature of cancer development and behavior, cancer is becoming a chronic disease that a growing number of patients can live with for many years,” said Dr. Sledge. “The studies released today are the latest examples of progress against the disease, from new personalized treatments, to new approaches to screening and prevention.”

The study results from a large clinical trial involving ovarian cancer screening were highlighted in today’s press briefing as summarized below.

Screening with CA-125 and Transvaginal Ultrasound Does Not Reduce Ovarian Cancer Death Rate, Results in High Number of False Positives

A randomized, multicenter screening study of nearly 80,000 women in the general population showed that using a CA-125 blood test and transvaginal ultrasound for early detection of ovarian cancer did not reduce the risk of dying from the disease, and resulted in a large number of false positives and related biopsies and follow-up procedures. The results indicate that while these tests are widely and appropriately used to evaluate symptoms, and to gauge disease status and effectiveness of treatment in women already diagnosed with ovarian cancer, they are not useful in screening the general population.

Saundra S. Buys, M.D., Medical Director, Huntsman Cancer Institute’s High Risk Breast Cancer Clinic; Professor, Depart. of Internal Medicine, Univ. of Utah School of Medicine

“There hasn’t been a good method for the early detection of ovarian cancer, and our hypothesis was that CA-125 and transvaginal ultrasound, which are useful in measuring disease, would also identify ovarian cancer early, at a stage in which it is more likely to be cured,” said lead author Saundra Buys, M.D., professor of medicine at the University of Utah and Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City. “The results were disappointing, but not necessarily surprising. The study shows that the available tests are not effective and may actually cause harm because of the high number of false positives. These results point to the continued need for more precise and effective screening tools for this disease.”

In the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial, 78,216 women ages 55 to 74 were assigned to either annual screening (39,105 women) or usual care (39,111 women) between 1993 and 2001. Women in the screening arm were offered annual CA-125 testing for six years and transvaginal ultrasound for four, and followed for up to 13 years. Those in the usual care arm were not offered the screening tests.

The results showed no statistically significant difference in ovarian cancer cases or mortality between the two arms. Ovarian cancer was diagnosed in 212 women in the screening group arm compared to 176 in the usual care arm; 118 women in the screening arm died from ovarian cancer, while 100 died from ovarian cancer in the usual care group.

Among women in the screening arm, there were a high number of false positives – 3,285 false positives, compared to just 212 true positives. Of women who had a false positive test, 1,080 underwent surgery for biopsy – the procedure generally required to evaluate positive test results; 163 of them had serious complications.

The authors emphasized that the study results don’t apply to screening women with symptoms or abnormal findings on physical examination. [emphasis added] Physical examination based on symptoms and appropriate follow-up testing remains the best available approach for ovarian cancer detection.

[Note: This summary contains updated data and a correction from the original abstract. Correction:  Of the 3,285 women who received a false positive exam, 1,080 underwent surgery. Of those surgical patients, 163 encountered at least one serious complication.]

Sources:

Resources:

OVA1 Blood Test Detects Ovarian Cancer In Women With A Known Ovarian Mass More Accurately Than CA-125

A study published online in Obstetrics & Gynecology reports that the OVA1 blood test detects ovarian cancer in women with a previously discovered ovarian mass more accurately than the CA-125 blood test. The study also considers OVA1’s place in future surgical referral guidelines.

A study published online ahead of print in the June 2011 edition of Obstetrics & Gynecology demonstrated that American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) guidelines for determining the likelihood that an ovarian mass is cancerous prior to surgery would accurately identify more women with ovarian cancer if the OVA1 blood test were used in place of the currently recommended CA-125 (cancer antigen 125) blood test. The study builds on prior research that shows accurate assessment of an ovarian mass for cancer prior to surgery can affect both treatment decisions and health outcomes for women with ovarian cancer.

… When OVA1 was used in place of CA 125 as recommend in the [ACOG] guidelines, 94% of malignancies in women of all ages in the study were accurately detected compared to 77% with CA-125. In addition, OVA1 improved sensitivity in premenopausal women, accurately detecting 91% of women with ovarian cancer in fewer than 58% with CA125. … The study also showed that the OVA1 test was about two times more likely to incorrectly identify women as high risk for ovarian cancer when they were not (a “false positive“) as compared to the CA-125 test overall. … 

OVA1 is the first test cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for aiding in the pre-surgical evaluation of a woman’s ovarian mass for cancer. Vermillion, Inc., a molecular diagnostics company, developed OVA1, and Quest Diagnostics Incorporated, the world’s leading diagnostic testing company, offers OVA1 testing services in the United States and India. Quest Diagnostics and Vermillion both participated in the study and Vermillion also helped fund the study. Neither company had any involvement in the development of the manuscript.

Clinical practice guidelines recommend that women with ovarian cancer be under the care of a gynecologic oncologist, although only an estimated one-third of initial surgeries for ovarian cancer are performed by these specialists. ACOG guidelines for the management of ovarian masses recommend that physicians evaluate several factors, including menopausal status, imaging findings, family history, and CA 125 blood test levels, to divide women into low- and high-risk categories on which treatment plans, including surgical referral, are based.

The study evaluated the performance of the ACOG guidelines using the CA-125 test versus the OVA1 test in 516 women scheduled for surgery for an ovarian mass across a diverse group of primary and specialty care centers. When OVA1 was used in place of CA-125 as recommend in the guidelines, 94% of malignancies in women of all ages in the study were accurately detected compared to 77% with CA 125. In addition, OVA1 improved sensitivity in premenopausal women, accurately detecting 91% of women with ovarian cancer in fewer than 58% with CA-125.

Rachel Ware Miller, M.D., Assistant Professor, Gynecologic Oncology, Markey Cancer Center, University of Kentucky

“The high sensitivity in premenopausal women and early stage cancers is where CA-125 and the College guidelines have underperformed,” wrote investigator Rachel Ware Miller, M.D., assistant professor gynecologic oncology at the University of Kentucky’s Markey Cancer Center, in the study. ” Identifying these patients for referral is valuable because many are not receiving appropriate surgical staging and treatment. An effective preoperative test, particularly for younger women and early-stage cancers, can have a favorable effect on women’s health as survival is better in these populations.”

OVA1 when used with the College guidelines was also effective at detecting advanced disease, when surgery and chemotherapy can “improve overall survival,” wrote Dr. Miller.

The study also showed that the OVA1 test was about two times more likely to incorrectly identify women as high risk for ovarian cancer when they were not (a “false positive“), as compared to the CA-125 test overall. However, as OVA1 is only indicated for women for whom surgery is already planned, a higher rate of false positives would increase the possibility that a woman’s surgery is performed by a gynecologic oncologist rather than a gynecologist or other non-specialist.

The study follows the March 2011 publication in Obstetrics & Gynecology, the official publication of ACOG, of an updated committee opinion, The Role Of The Obstetrician-Gynecologist In The Early Detection Of Epithelial Ovarian Cancer, by ACOG and Society of Gynecologic Oncologists (SGO) that cited the FDA clearance of OVA1 (in 2009) and indicated that OVA1 “appears to improve the predictability of ovarian cancer in women with pelvic masses” and “may be useful for evaluating women with a pelvic mass.”

“Prior to OVA1’s clearance by the FDA, the only lab test physicians could use to assess the likelihood that an ovarian mass was malignant prior to surgery was CA-125, even though CA-125 is not indicated for this use and its performance is variable,” said Dr. Eric T. Fung, chief science officer, Vermillion, Inc. “These data should give physicians more confidence to refer women whose OVA1 test result indicates a high likelihood of cancer to a gynecologic oncologist for surgery.”

Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancers in the United States and the fifth-leading cause of cancer deaths in women. Ovarian masses affect an estimated one million women and lead to as many 300,000 ovarian mass surgeries in the United States each year, according to an analysis by third parties on behalf of Quest Diagnostics.

About OVA1®

OVA1 is the first test cleared by FDA for aiding in the pre-surgical evaluation of a woman’s ovarian mass for cancer, and also is the first protein-based In Vitro Diagnostic Multi-Variate Index Assays (IVDMIA), a new class of state of the art software-based diagnostics. The test utilizes five well-established biomarkers — transthyretin (TT or prealbumin), apoolipoprotein A-1 (Apo A-1), beta 2-microglobulin (beta 2M), transferrin (Tfr) and cancer antigen 125 (CA-125 II) — and proprietary software to determine the likelihood of malignancy in women with ovarian mass for whom surgery is planned.

OVA1 is indicated for women who meet the following criteria: (i) over age 18, (ii) ovarian adnexal mass present for which surgery is planned, and (iii) not yet referred to an oncologist. It is an aid to further assess the likelihood that malignancy is present when the physician’s independent clinical and radiological evaluation does not indicate malignancy. The test should not be used without an independent clinical/radiological evaluation and is not intended to be a screening test or to determine whether a patient should proceed to surgery. Incorrect use of the OVA1 Test carries the risk of unnecessary testing, surgery, and/or delayed diagnosis.

About Quest Diagnostics

Quest Diagnostics is the world’s leading provider of diagnostic testing, information and services that patients and doctors need to make better healthcare decisions. The company offers the broadest access to diagnostic testing services through its network of laboratories and patient service centers, and provides interpretive consultation through its extensive medical and scientific staff. Quest Diagnostics is a pioneer in developing innovative diagnostic tests and advanced healthcare information technology solutions that help improve patient care. Additional company information is available at http://www.questdiagnostics.com/.

About Vermillion, Inc.

Vermillion, Inc. is dedicated to the development and commercialization of novel high-value diagnostic tests that help physicians diagnose, treat and improve outcomes for patients. Vermillion, along with its prestigious scientific collaborators, has diagnostic programs in oncology, cardiology and women’s health. Additional information about Vermillion can be found on the Web at http://www.vermillion.com/.

Sources:

2011 SGO Annual Meeting: Ovarian Cancer Abstracts Selected For Presentation

The March 2011 supplemental issue of Gynecologic Oncology sets forth the ovarian cancer and ovarian cancer-related medical abstracts selected by the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists for presentation at its 42nd Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer™, which is being held in Orlando, Florida from March 6-9, 2011.

The Society of Gynecologic Oncologists (SGO) is hosting its 42nd Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer™ (March 6–9, 2011) in Orlando, Florida. The SGO Annual Meeting attracts more than 1,700 gynecologic oncologists and other health professional from around the world.

In connection with this premier gynecologic cancer event, 651 abstracts, and 27 surgical films were submitted for consideration. After careful discussion and deliberation, the SGO selected 51 abstracts for oral presentation (27 Plenary session papers, 24 Focused Plenary papers, and 42 Featured Posters, presented in a new, electronic format), along with 227 for poster presentation. Of the 27 surgical films originally submitted, five films were selected for presentation during a featured Focused Plenary session.

The ovarian cancer abstracts listed below were obtained from the March 2011 supplemental issue of Gynecologic Oncology. Each abstract bears the number that it was assigned in the Gynecologic Oncology journal table of contents.

Please note that we provide below (under the heading “Additional Information”) Adobe Reader PDF copies of the 2011 SGO Annual Meeting program summary and the medical abstract booklet (includes all gynecologic cancer topics). If you require a free copy of the Adobe Reader software, please visit http://get.adobe.com/reader/otherversions/.

For your convenience, we listed the 2011 SGO Annual Meeting ovarian cancer abstracts under the following subject matter headings:  (1) ovarian cancer symptoms, (2) ovarian cancer screening, (3) pathology, (4) ovarian cancer staging, (5) chemotherapy, (6) diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers, (7) clinical trial drugs and results, (8) hereditary breast & ovarian cancer syndrome (BRCA gene deficiencies & Lynch Syndrome), (9) gynecologic practice, (10) gynecologic surgery, (11) genetic/molecular profiling, (12) immunotherapy, (13) medical imaging, (14) preclinical studies – general, (15) preclinical studies – potential therapeutic targets, (16) palliative and supportive care, (17) rare ovarian cancers, (18) survival data, (19) survivorship, (20) other, (21) late breaking abstracts.

Ovarian Cancer Symptoms

142. Utility of symptom index in women at increased risk for ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #140)

184. Symptom-triggered screening for ovarian cancer: A pilot study of feasibility and acceptability. (SGO Abstract #182)

187. Women without ovarian cancer reporting disease-specific symptoms. (SGO Abstract #185)

Ovarian Cancer Screening

12. Ovarian cancer: Predictors of primary care physicians’ referral to gynecologic oncologists. (SGO Abstract #10)

84. Long-term survival of patients with epithelial ovarian cancer detected by sonographic screening. (SGO Abstract #82)

90. Significant endometrial pathology detected during a transvaginal ultrasound screening trial for ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #88)

109. Detection of the tissue-derived biomarker peroxiredoxin 1 in serum of patients with ovarian cancer: A biomarker feasibility study. (SGO Abstract #107)

113. Epithelial ovarian cancer tumor microenvironment is a favorable biomarker resource. (SGO Abstract #111)

127. Stop and smell the volatile organic compounds: A novel breath-based bioassay for detection of ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #125)

144. Incidental gynecologic FDG-PET/CT findings in women with a history of breast cancer. (SGO Abstract #142)

156. Discovery of novel monoclonal antibodies (MC1–MC6) to detect ovarian cancer in serum and differentiate it from benign tumors. (SGO Abstract #154)

158. Evaluation of the risk of ovarian malignancy algorithm (ROMA) in women with a pelvic mass presenting to general gynecologists. (SGO Abstract #156)

162. Human epididymis protein 4 increases specificity for the detection of invasive epithelial ovarian cancer in premenopausal women presenting with an adnexal mass. (SGO Abstract #160)

163. Identification of biomarkers to improve specificity in preoperative assessment of ovarian tumor for risk of cancer. (SGO Abstract #161)

171. OVA1 has high sensitivity in identifying ovarian malignancy compared with preoperative assessment and CA-125. (SGO Abstract #169)

172. OVA1 improves the sensitivity of the ACOG referral guidelines for an ovarian mass. (SGO Abstract #170)

182. Sonographic predictors of ovarian malignancy. (SGO Abstract #180)

237. Management of complex pelvic masses using the OVA1 test: A decision analysis. (SGO Abstract #235)

241. Three-dimensional power doppler angiography as a three-step technique for differential diagnosis of adnexal masses: A prospective study. (SGO Abstract #239)

Pathology

145. Accuracy of frozen-section diagnosis of ovarian borderline tumor. (SGO Abstract #143)

Ovarian Cancer Staging

31. Should stage IIIC ovarian cancer be further stratified by intraperitoneal versus retroperitoneal-only disease? A Gynecologic Oncology Group study. (SGO Abstract #29)

173. Peritoneal staging biopsies in early-stage ovarian cancer: Are they necessary? (SGO Abstract #171)

Chemotherapy

29. Treatment of chemotherapy-induced anemia in patients with ovarian cancer: Does the use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents worsen survival? (SGO Abstract #27)

69. Intraperitoneal chemotherapy for recurrent ovarian cancer appears efficacious with high completion rates and low complications. (SGO Abstract #67)

174. Predictors of severe and febrile neutropenia during primary chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #172)

177. Sequencing of therapy and outcomes associated with use of neoadjuvant chemotherapy in advanced epithelial ovarian cancer in the Medicare population. (SGO Abstract #175)

179. Should we treat patients with ovarian cancer with positive retroperitoneal lymph nodes with intraperitoneal chemotherapy? Impact of lymph node status in women undergoing intraperitoneal chemotherapy. (SGO Abstract #177)

229. Predictors and effects of reduced relative dose intensity in women receiving their primary course of chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #227)

Diagnostic & Prognostic Biomarkers

128. Stress and the metastatic switch in epithelial ovarian carcinoma. (SGO Abstract #126)

130. The cytoskeletal gateway for tumor aggressiveness in ovarian cancer is driven by class III β-tubulin. (SGO Abstract #128)

134. True blood: Platelets as a biomarker of ovarian cancer recurrence. (SGO Abstract #132)

148. CA-125 changes can predict optimal interval cytoreduction in patients with advanced-stage epithelial ovarian cancer treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy. (SGO Abstract #146)

149. CA-125 surveillance for women with ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancers: What do survivors think? (SGO Abstract #147)

150. Calretinin as a prognostic indicator in granulosa cell tumor. (SGO Abstract #148)

135. Tumor expression of the type I insulin-like growth factor receptor is an independent prognostic factor in epithelial ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #133)

147. C-terminal binding protein 2: A potential marker for response to histone deacetylase inhibitors in epithelial ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #145)

157. Elevated serum adiponectin levels correlate with survival in epithelial ovarian cancers. (SGO Abstract #155)

175. Prognostic impact of prechemotherapy HE4 and CA-125 levels in patients with ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #175)

178. Serum HE4 level is an independent risk factor of surgical outcome and prognosis of epithelial ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #176)

Clinical Trial Drugs & Results

8. MicroRNA as a novel predictor of response to bevacizumab in recurrent serous ovarian cancer: An analysis of The Cancer Genome Atlas. (SGO Abstract #6)

9. Prospective investigation of risk factors for gastrointestinal adverse events in a phase III randomized trial of bevacizumab in first-line therapy of advanced epithelial ovarian cancer, primary peritoneal cancer or fallopian tube cancer: A Gynecologic Oncology Group study. (SGO Abstract #7)

10. First in human trial of the poly(ADP)-ribose polymerase inhibitor MK-4827 in patients with advanced cancer with antitumor activity in BRCA-deficient and sporadic ovarian cancers.  (SGO Abstract #8)

30. An economic analysis of intravenous carboplatin plus dose-dense weekly paclitaxel versus intravenous carboplatin plus every three-weeks paclitaxel in the upfront treatment of ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #28)

51. BRCA1-deficient tumors demonstrate enhanced cytotoxicity and T-cell recruitment following doxil treatment. (SGO Abstract #49)

54. A novel combination of a MEK inhibitor and fulvestrant shows synergistic antitumor activity in estrogen receptor-positive ovarian carcinoma. (SGO Abstract #52)

68. An economic analysis of bevacizumab in recurrent treatment of ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #66)

71. A phase II study of gemcitabine, carboplatin and bevacizumab for the treatment of platinum-sensitive recurrent ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #69)

72. A phase I clinical trial of a novel infectivity-enhanced suicide gene adenovirus with gene transfer imaging capacity in patients with recurrent gynecologic cancer. (SGO Abstract #70)

73. A phase I study of a novel lipopolymer-based interleukin-12 gene therapeutic in combination with chemotherapy for the treatment of platinum-sensitive recurrent ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #71)

74. AMG 386 combined with either pegylated liposomal doxorubicin or topotecan in patients with advanced ovarian cancer: Results from a phase Ib study. (SGO Abstract #72)

86. Pressure to respond: Hypertension predicts clinical benefit from bevacizumab in recurrent ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #84)

152. Changes in tumor blood flow as estimated by dynamic-contrast MRI may predict activity of single-agent bevacizumab in recurrent epithelial ovarian cancer and primary peritoneal cancer: An exploratory analysis of a Gynecologic Oncology Group phase II trial. (SGO Abstract #150)

153. Comparing overall survival in patients with epithelial ovarian, primary peritoneal or fallopian tube cancer who received chemotherapy alone versus neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by delayed primary debulking. (SGO Abstract #151)

154. Consolidation paclitaxel is more cost-effective than bevacizumab following upfront treatment of advanced ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #152)

193. Pegylated liposomal doxorubicin with bevacizumab in the treatment of platinum-resistant ovarian cancer: Toxicity profile results. (SGO Abstract #191)

194. Phase II Trial of docetaxel and bevacizumab in recurrent ovarian cancer within 12 months of prior platinum-based chemotherapy. (SGO Abstract #192)

195. A phase I/II trial of IDD-6, an autologous dendritic cell vaccine for women with advanced ovarian cancer in remission. (SGO Abstract #193)

183. STAC: A phase II study of carboplatin/paclitaxel/bevacizumab followed by randomization to either bevacizumab alone or erlotinib and bevacizumab in the upfront management of patients with ovarian, fallopian tube or peritoneal cancer. (SGO Abstract #181)

228. Is it more cost-effective to use bevacizumab in the primary treatment setting or at recurrence? An economic analysis. (SGO Abstract #226)

240. The use of bevacizumab and cytotoxic and consolidation chemotherapy for the upfront treatment of advanced ovarian cancer: Practice patterns among medical and gynecologic oncology SGO members. (SGO Abstract #238)

Hereditary Breast & Ovarian Cancer Syndrome (BRCA gene deficiencies & Lynch Syndrome)

39. BRCAness profile of ovarian cancer predicts disease recurrence. (SGO Abstract #37)

52. A history of breast carcinoma predicts worse survival in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers with ovarian carcinoma. (SGO Abstract #52)

137. Does genetic counseling for women at high risk of harboring a deleterious BRCA mutation alter risk-reduction strategies and cancer surveillance behaviors? (SGO Abstract #135)

138. Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome based on family history alone and implications for patients with serous carcinoma. (SGO Abstract #138)

139. Management and clinical outcomes of women with BRCA1/2 mutations found to have occult cancers at the time of risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy. (SGO Abstract #137)

141. The impact of BRCA testing on surgical treatment decisions for patients with breast cancer. (SGO Abstract #139)

136. Compliance with recommended genetic counseling for Lynch syndrome: Room for improvement. (SGO Abstract #134)

Gynecologic Practice

81. Availability of gynecologic oncologists for ovarian cancer care. (SGO Abstract #79)

Gynecologic Surgery

19. Single-port paraaortic lymph node dissection. (SGO Abstract #17)

20. Robotic nerve-sparing radical hysterectomy type C1. (SGO Abstract #18)

21. Urinary reconstruction after pelvic exenteration: Modified Indiana pouch. (SGO Abstract #19)

22. Intrathoracic cytoreductive surgery by video-assisted thoracic surgery in advanced ovarian carcinoma. (SGO Abstract #20)

26. Cost comparison of strategies for the management of venous thromboembolic event risk following laparotomy for ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #24)

28. Primary debulking surgery versus neoadjuvant chemotherapy in stage IV ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #26)

33. Does the bedside assistant matter in robotic surgery: An analysis of patient outcomes in gynecologic oncology. (SGO Abstract #31)

48. Defining the limits of radical cytoreductive surgery for ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #46)

87. Prognostic impact of lymphadenectomy in clinically early-stage ovarian malignant germ cell tumor. (SGO Abstract #85)

93. Secondary cytoreductive surgery: A key tool in the management of recurrent ovarian sex cord–stromal tumors. (SGO Abstract #91)

146. Advanced-stage ovarian cancer metastases to sigmoid colon mesenteric lymph nodes: Clinical consideration of tumor spread and biologic behavior. (SGO Abstract #144)

155. Cytoreductive surgery for serous ovarian cancer in patients 75 years and older. (SGO Abstract #153)

168. Intraperitoneal catheters placed at the time of bowel surgery: A review of complications. (SGO Abstract #166)

169. Laparoscopic versus laparotomic surgical staging for early-stage epithelial ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #167)

170. Oncologic and reproductive outcomes of cystectomy compared with oophorectomy as treatment for borderline ovarian tumor. (SGO Abstract #168)

180. Significance of perioperative infectious disease in patients with ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #178)

185. The feasibility of mediastinal lymphadenectomy in the management of advanced and recurrent ovarian carcinoma. (SGO Abstract #183)

235. Incidence of venous thromboembolism after robotic surgery for gynecologic malignancy: Is dual prophylaxis necessary? (SGO Abstract #233)

286. Charlson’s index: A validation study to predict surgical adverse events in gynecologic oncology. (SGO Abstract #284)

288. Cost-effectiveness of extended postoperative venous thromboembolism prophylaxis in gynecologic pncology patients. (SGO Abstract #286)

302. Integration of and training for robot-assisted surgery in a gynecologic oncology fellowship program. (SGO Abstract #300)

303. Outcomes of patients with gynecologic malignancies undergoing video-assisted thorascopic surgery and pleurodesis for malignant pleural effusion. (SGO Abstract #301)

304. Perioperative and pathologic outcomes following robot-assisted laparoscopic versus abdominal management of ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #302)

307. Predictive risk factors for prolonged hospitalizations after gynecologic laparoscopic surgery. (SGO Abstract #305)

309. Robot-assisted surgery for gynecologic cancer: A systematic review. (SGO Abstract #307)

310. Robotic radical hysterectomy: Extent of tumor resection and operative outcomes compared with laparoscopy and exploratory laparotomy. (SGO Abstract #308)

315. Utilization of specialized postoperative services in a comprehensive surgical cytoreduction program. (SGO Abstract #313)

Genetic/Molecular Profiling

5. A 3’ UTR KRAS variant as a biomarker of poor outcome and chemotherapy resistance in ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #3)

15. XPC single-nucleotide polymorphisms correlate with prolonged progression-free survival in advanced ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #13)

16. Genomewide methylation analyses reveal a prominent role of HINF1 network genes, via hypomethylation, in ovarian clear cell carcinoma. (SGO Abstract #14)

49. Loss of ARID1A is a frequent event in clear cell and endometrioid ovarian cancers. (SGO Abstract #47)

53. Genetic variants in the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway as predictors of clinical response and survival in women with ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #51)

55. BAD apoptosis pathway expression and survival from cancer. (SGO Abstract #53)

59. Molecular profiling of advanced pelvic serous carcinoma associated with serous tubal intraepithelial carcinoma. (SGO Abstract #57)

82. Biologic roles of tumor and endothelial delta-like ligand 4 in ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #80)

85. MicroRNA 101 inhibits ovarian cancer xenografts by relieving the chromatin-mediated transcriptional repression of p21waf1/cip1. (SGO Abstract #83)

102. Association between global DNA hypomethylation in leukocytes and risk of ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #100)

103. Cisplatin, carboplatin, and paclitaxel: Unique and common pathways that underlie ovarian cancer response. (SGO Abstract #101)

106. Comparison of mTOR and HIF pathway alterations in the clear cell carcinoma variant of kidney, ovary and endometrium. (SGO Abstract #104)

107. Concordant gene expression profiles in matched primary and recurrent serous ovarian cancers predict platinum response. (SGO Abstract #105)

111. Differential microRNA expression in cis-platinum-resistant versus -sensitive ovarian cancer cell lines. (SGO Abstract #109)

112. DNA methylation markers associated with serous ovarian cancer subtypes. (SGO Abstract #110)

118. MicroRNA and messenger RNA pathways associated with ovarian cancer cell sensitivity to topotecan, gemcitabine and doxorubicin. (SGO Abstract #116)

119. Molecular profiling of patients with curatively treated advanced serous ovarian carcinoma from The Cancer Genome Atlas. (SGO Abstract #117)

125. Proteomic analysis demonstrates that BRCA1-deficient epithelial ovarian cancer cell lines activate alternative pathways following exposure to cisplatin. (SGO Abstract #123)

132. The tumor suppressor KLF6, lost in a majority of ovarian cancer cases, represses VEGF expression levels. (SGO Abstract #130)

126. Quantitative PCR array identification of microRNA clusters associated with epithelial ovarian cancer chemoresistance. (SGO Abstract #124)

160. Genes functionally regulated by methylation in ovarian cancer are involved in cell proliferation, development and morphogenesis. (SGO Abstract #158)

181. Single-nucleotide polymorphism in DNA repair and drug resistance genes alone or in combination in epithelail ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #179)

278. Expression patterns of p53 and p21 cell cycle regulators and clinical outcome in women with pure gynecologic sarcomas. (SGO Abstract #276)

Immunotherapy

98. Ab-IL2 fusion proteins mediate NK cell immune synapse formation in epithelial ovarian cancer by polarizing CD25 to the target cell–effector cell interface. (SGO Abstract #96)

124. Proteasome inhibition increases death receptors and decreases major histocompatibility complex I expression: Pathways to exploit in natural killer cell immunotherapy. (SGO Abstract #122)

Medical Imaging

164. Impact of FDG-PET in suspected recurrent ovarian cancer and optimization of patient selection for cytoreductive surgery. (SGO Abstract #162)

294. The clinical and financial implications of MRI of pelvic masses. (SGO Abstract #292)

Preclinical Studies

11. A unique microRNA locus at 19q13.41 sensitizes epithelial ovarian cancers to chemotherapy. (SGO Abstract #9)

14. Common single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the BNC2, HOXD1 and MERIT40 regions contribute significantly to racial differences in ovarian cancer incidence. (SGO Abstract #12)

46. Development of a preclinical serous ovarian cancer mouse model. (SGO Abstract #44)

56. Examination of matched primary and recurrent ovarian cancer specimens supports the cancer stem cell hypothesis. (SGO Abstract #54)

58. Modeling of early events in serous carcinogenesis: Molecular prerequisites for transformation of fallopian tube epithelial cells. (SGO Abstract #56)

101. Antiproliferative activity of a phenolic extract from a native Chilean Amaranthaceae plant in drug-resistant ovarian cancer cell lines. (SGO Abstract #99)

115. Identification and characterization of CD44+/CD24–ovarian cancer stem cell properties and their correlation with survival. (SGO Abstract #113)

Preclinical Studies – Potential Therapeutic Targets

57. Hypoxia-mediated activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) in ovarian cancer: A novel therapeutic strategy using HO-3867, a STAT3 inhibitor (and novel curcumin analog). (SGO Abstract #55)

61. The ubiquitin ligase EDD mediates platinum resistance and is a target for therapy in epithelial ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #59)

97. A novel hedgehog pathway smoothened inhibitor (BMS-833923) demonstrates in vitro synergy with carboplatin in ovarian cancer cells. (SGO Abstract #95)

100. AMPK activation mimics glucose deprivation and induces cytotoxicity in ovarian cancer cells. (SGO Abstract #98)

104. Clinical significance of vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) in the ovarian cancer microenvironment. (SGO Abstract #102)

105. Combined erbB/VEGFR blockade has improved anticancer activity over single-pathway inhibition in ovarian cancer in vivo. (SGO Abstract #103)

114. EZH2 expression correlates with increased angiogenesis in ovarian carcinoma. (SGO Abstract #112)

116. Induction of apoptosis in cisplatin-resistant ovarian cancer cells by G-1, a specific agonist of the G-protein-coupled estrogen receptor GPR30. (SGO Abstract #114)

120. Neuropilin-1 blockade in the tumor microenvironment reduces tumor growth. (SGO Abstract #118)

129. Targeting the hedgehog pathway reverses taxane resistance in ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #127)

121. Ovarian cancer lymph node metastases express unique cellular structure and adhesion genes. (SGO Abstract #119)

122. Overexpression of fibroblast growth factor 1 and fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 in high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma: Correlation with survival and implications for therapeutic targeting. (SGO Abstract #120)

131. The pattern of H3K56 acetylation expression in ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #129)

133. Thinking outside of the tumor: Targeting the ovarian cancer microenvironment. (SGO Abstract #131)

161. Horm-A domain-containing protein 1 (HORMAD1) and outcomes in patients with ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #159)

165. Influence of the novel histone deacetylase inhibitor panobinostat (LBH589) on the growth of ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #163)

166. Inhibition of stress-induced phosphoprotein 1 decreases proliferation of ovarian cancer cell lines. (SGO Abstract #164)

167. Insulin-like growth factor receptor 1 pathway signature correlates with adverse clinical outcome in ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #165)

230. Therapeutic synergy and resensitization of drug-resistant ovarian carcinoma to cisplatin by HO-3867. (SGO Abstract #228)

Palliative & Supportive Care

159. Factors associated with hospice use in ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #226)

190. Age-related preferences regarding end-of-life care discussions among gynecologic oncology patients. (SGO Abstract #188)

192. Palliative care education in gynecologic oncology: A survey of the fellows. (SGO Abstract #190)

Rare Ovarian Cancers

151. Carcinosarcoma of the ovary: A case–control study. (SGO Abstract #149)

Survival Data

80. Ten-year relative survival for epithelial ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #78)

83. Impact of beta blockers on epithelial ovarian cancer survival. (SGO Abstract #81)

176. Revisiting the issue of race-related outcomes in patients with stage IIIC papillary serous ovarian cancer who receive similar treatment. (SGO Abstract #174)

186. The impact of diabetes on survival in women with ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #184)

284. Survival following ovarian versus uterine carcinosarcoma. (SGO Abstract #282)

285. The unique natural history of mucinous tumors of the ovary. (SGO Abstract #283)

292. Stage IC ovarian cancer: Tumor rupture versus ovarian surface involvement. (SGO Abstract #290)

Survivorship

191. Menopausal symptoms and use of hormone replacement therapy: The gynecologic cancer survivors’ perspective. (SGO Abstract #189)

Other

4. From guidelines to the front line: Only a minority of the Medicare population with advanced epithelial ovarian cancer receive optimal therapy. (SGO Abstract #2)

32. Efficacy of influenza vaccination in women with ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #30)

91. Women with invasive gynecologic malignancies are more than 12 times as likely to commit suicide as are women in the general population. (SGO Abstract #89)

231. Attrition of first-time faculty in gynecologic oncology: Is there a difference between men and women? (SGO Abstract #229)

238. Relative impact of cost drivers on the increasing expense of inpatient gynecologic oncology care. (SGO Abstract #236)

Late-Breaking Abstracts

About Society of Gynecologic Oncologists (SGO)

The SGO is a national medical specialty organization of physicians and allied healthcare professionals who are trained in the comprehensive management of women with malignancies of the reproductive tract. Its purpose is to improve the care of women with gynecologic cancer by encouraging research, disseminating knowledge which will raise the standards of practice in the prevention and treatment of gynecologic malignancies, and cooperating with other organizations interested in women’s health care, oncology and related fields. The Society’s membership, totaling more than 1,400, is primarily comprised of gynecologic oncologists, as well as other related medical specialists including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, nurses, social workers and pathologists. SGO members provide multidisciplinary cancer treatment including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery and supportive care. More information on the SGO can be found at www.sgo.org.

About Gynecologic Oncologists

Gynecologic oncologists are physicians committed to the comprehensive treatment of women with cancer. After completing four years of medical school and four years of residency in obstetrics and gynecology, these physicians pursue an additional three to four years of training in gynecologic oncology through a rigorous fellowship program overseen by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Gynecologic oncologists are not only trained to be skilled surgeons capable of performing wide-ranging cancer operations, but they are also trained in prescribing the appropriate chemotherapy for those conditions and/or radiation therapy when indicated. Frequently, gynecologic oncologists are involved in research studies and clinical trials that are aimed at finding more effective and less toxic treatments to further advance the field and improve cure rates.

Studies on outcomes from gynecologic cancers demonstrate that women treated by a gynecologic oncologist have a better likelihood of prolonged survival compared to care rendered by non-specialists. Due to their extensive training and expertise, gynecologic oncologists often serve as the “team captain” who coordinates all aspects of a woman’s cancer care and recovery. Gynecologic oncologists understand the impact of cancer and its treatments on all aspects of women’s lives including future childbearing, sexuality, physical and emotional well-being—and the impact cancer can have on the patient’s whole family.

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Lab-On-A-Chip: Veridex & MGH Collaborate On Next-Generation Circulating Tumor Cell Test

Veridex, LLC announces a collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital to develop and commercialize a next-generation circulating tumor cell technology for capturing, counting and characterizing tumor cells found in patients’ blood.

Yesterday, Veridex, LLC (Veridex) announced a collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) to develop and commercialize a next-generation circulating tumor cell (CTC) technology for capturing, counting and characterizing tumor cells found in patients’ blood. The collaboration will involve Ortho Biotech Oncology Research & Development (ORD), a unit of Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development. It focuses on the development of a next-generation system that will enable CTCs to be used both by oncologists as a diagnostic tool for personalizing patient care, as well as by researchers to accelerate and improve the process of drug discovery and development.

The collaboration will rely on the collective scientific, technical, clinical, and commercial expertise between the partners: MGH’s experience in clinical research and novel CTC technologies; the experience of Veridex as the only diagnostics company to have brought CTC technology to the U.S. market as an FDA-cleared in vitro diagnostic (IVD) assay ( “CellSearch® CTC Test”) for capturing and counting the number of tumor cells in the blood to help inform patients and their physicians about prognosis and overall survival in certain types of metastatic cancers; and ORD’s expertise in oncology therapeutics, biomarkers and companion diagnostics.  The platform to be developed will be a bench-top system to specifically isolate and explore the biology of rare cells at the protein, RNA and DNA levels.

“This new technology has the potential to facilitate an easy-to-administer, non-invasive blood test that would allow us to count tumor cells, and to characterize the biology of the cells,” said Robert McCormack, Head of Technology Innovation and Strategy, Veridex. “Harnessing the information contained in these cells in an in vitro clinical setting could enable tools to help select treatment and monitor how patients are responding.”

“The role of CTCs in drug discovery and development is growing as new technologies allow us to use CTCs for the first time as templates for novel DNA, RNA and protein biomarkers,” said Nicholas Dracopoli, Vice President, Biomarkers, ORD. “Given the demand for actionable data to guide personalized medicine for patients with cancer, there is a rapidly growing need for advanced, automated non-invasive technologies that can aid in selection of treatment and monitor response throughout the course of their disease.”

Mehmet Toner, Ph.D., Professor of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) & Harvard Medical School; Director, MGH BioMicro- ElectroMechanical Systems Resource Center

“The challenging goal of sorting extremely rare circulating tumor cells from blood requires continuous technological, biological and clinical innovation to fully explore the utility of these precious cells in clinical oncology,” said Mehmet Toner, Ph.D., director of the BioMicroElectroMechanical Systems Resource Center in the MGH Center for Engineering in Medicine. “We have developed and continue to develop a broad range of technologies that are evolving what we know about cancer and cancer care. This collaboration is an opportunity to apply our past learning to the advancement of a platform that will ultimately benefit patients with cancer.”

Building on its successful development and evolution of CTC technology, as well as contributions to the body of science in the CTC field, MGH aims to revolutionize how oncologists detect, monitor and potentially treat cancers.  The MGH team has already developed two generations of a microfluidic chip capable of capturing CTCs with a high rate of efficiency. However the third generation technology now being developed with the companies is based on a new technological platform and will aim for even higher sensitivity, as well as suitability for broad applications and ready dissemination.

In the above demonstration of the first generation CTC-Chip, circulating tumor cells (fluorescent labeled, shown in white) mixed with blood (not labeled) are captured on nano-scale posts as they flow through the chip. The chip is the size of a microscope slide with 78,000 posts, which are coated with antibodies to epithelial cell adhesion molecules in tumor cells. (Video courtesy of Dr. Sunitha Nagrath, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School)

“This agreement is quite different from the usual academic-industrial agreement because we will be working together to bring new MGH-invented technology from its current, very early stage, through prototype and scale-up, to our ultimate goals of FDA approval and clinical adoption,” says Dr. Toner. “Our innovation team will be dedicated to developing this technology from its basic scientific principles all the way to initial prototyping within the biological research and clinical environments. Veridex has the knowledge required to translate early-stage technology into a product that can be reliably manufactured and meet regulatory requirements.

“Applying data gathered from CTCs to the care of cancer patients is a complex problem, and our strategy is to diversify technological approaches to find the best solutions for specific applications,” Toner adds. “We may find that different technologies work better for diagnosis, for prognosis and for the long-term goal of early detection; so we don’t want to confine ourselves to a single option.” His team is continuing to develop the microfluidic chip technology, with the support of Stand Up to Cancer.

Daniel A. Haber, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center

Daniel Haber, MD, PhD, director of the MGH Cancer Center, says, “The ability to establish a dedicated MGH research center focused on the intersection of bioengineering, molecular biology and clinical oncology presents an opportunity to develop a next-generation platform that will help us detect, define and monitor cancer cells more effectively – which should make an enormous difference in the lives of so many patients and their families.”

About Circulating Tumor Cells

Circulating tumor cells are cancer cells that have detached from the tumor and are found at extremely low levels in the bloodstream. The value of capturing and counting CTCs is evolving as more research data is gathered about the utility of these markers in monitoring disease progression and potentially guiding personalized cancer therapy.

About Veridex, LLC

Veridex, LLC, a Johnson & Johnson company, is an organization dedicated to providing physicians with high-value diagnostic oncology products. Veridex’s IVD products may significantly benefit patients by helping physicians make more informed decisions that enable better patient care. Veridex’s Clinical Research Solutions provide tools and services that may be used for the selection, identification and enumeration of targeted rare cells in peripheral blood for the identification of biomarkers, aiding scientists in their search for new, targeted therapies. For more information, visit www.veridex.com.

About Ortho Biotech Oncology Research & Development

Ortho Biotech Oncology Research & Development, a unit of Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development, is a research and development organization that strives to transform cancer to a preventable, chronic or curable disease by delivering extraordinary and accessible diagnostic and therapeutic solutions that prolong and improve patients’ lives.

About Massachusetts General Hospital

Celebrating the 200th anniversary of its founding in 1811, Massachusetts General Hospital is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, with an annual research budget of more than $600 million and major research centers in AIDS, cardiovascular research, cancer, computational and integrative biology, cutaneous biology, human genetics, medical imaging, neurodegenerative disorders, regenerative medicine, systems biology, transplantation biology and photomedicine. For more information visit http://www.mgh.harvard.edu/.

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Peptide Being Tested for Atherosclerosis Inhibits Ovarian Cancer Growth; Clinical Trial Planned

A drug in testing to treat atherosclerosis significantly inhibited growth of ovarian cancer in both human cell lines and mouse models, marking the first such report of a peptide being used to fight malignancies, according to a study by researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

A drug in testing to treat atherosclerosis significantly inhibited growth of ovarian cancer in both human cell lines and mouse models, marking the first such report of a peptide being used to fight malignancies, according to a study by researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The study follows a previous discovery by the same group showing that a protein called apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I) may be used as a biomarker to diagnose early stage ovarian cancer in patients, when it typically is asymptomatic and much easier to treat. These earlier findings could be vital to improving early detection, as more than 85 percent of ovarian cancer cases present in the advanced stages, when the cancer has already spread and patients are more likely to have a recurrence after treatment, said Dr. Robin Farias-Eisner, chief of gynecologic oncology and co-senior author of the study with Dr. Srinu Reddy, a professor of medicine.

Robin Farias-Eisner, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of Gynecologic Oncology, UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center

“The vast majority of ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed with advanced disease and the vast majority of those, after surgery and chemotherapy, will eventually become resistant to standard therapy,” Farias-Eisner said. “That’s the reason these patients die. Now, with this peptide as a potential therapy, and if successful in clinical trials, we may have a novel effective therapy for recurrent, chemotherapy-resistant ovarian cancer, without compromising the quality of life during treatment.”

The study was published Nov. 1, 2010 in the early online edition of the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In their previous work, Farias-Eisner, Reddy and their research teams identified three novel biomarkers that they used to diagnose early stage ovarian cancer. In September 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared the first laboratory test that can indicate the likelihood of ovarian cancer, OVA1™ Test, which includes the three biomarkers identified and validated by Farias-Eisner, Reddy and their research teams.

They observed that one of the markers, apoA-I, was decreased in patients with early stage disease. They wondered why the protein was decreased and set out to uncover the answer. They speculated that the protein might be protective, and may be preventing disease progression.

The protein, apoA-I, is the major component of HDL [high-density lipoprotein], the good cholesterol, and plays an important role in reverse cholesterol transport by extracting cholesterol and lipids from cells and transferring it to the liver for extraction. The protein also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Because lipid transport, inflammation and oxidative stress are associated with the development and progression of cancer, Farias-Eisner and Reddy hypothesized that the reduced levels of apoA-I in ovarian cancer patients may be causal in disease progression.

Mice that were engineered to have many copies of human apoA-I gene showed very little cancer development when induced with ovarian cancer, while the mice without the extra copies of apoA-I showed much more disease. The mice with extra copies of the apoA-I gene also lived 30 to 50 percent longer than those who didn’t receive it.

Farias-Eisner and Reddy wanted to treat the mice that had more cancer with the protein apoA-I, but it was too large to conveniently administer, having 243 amino acids. The researchers then turned to apoA-I mimetic peptides—only 18 amino acids in length—that are being tested for cardiovascular diseases. That project had been ongoing for a number of years at UCLA, said Reddy, who is also a part of the cardiovascular research team led by Dr. Alan M. Fogelman, executive chair of the Department of Medicine.

Srinivasa T. Reddy, Ph.D., M.Sc., Professor, Division of Cardiology, Depart. of Molecular & Medical Pharmacology, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles

“The smaller peptides mimic the larger apoA-I protein and provided us with agents we could give to the mouse to see if it was effective in fighting ovarian cancer,” said Reddy. “One of the peptides was being tested as an experimental therapy for atherosclerosis, so we already have some information on how it’s being tolerated in humans, which would be vital information to have if we progressed to human studies in ovarian cancer.”

The peptide, thus far, has caused little to no side effects in atherosclerosis patients, Reddy said, a hopeful sign that it might be well tolerated in ovarian cancer patients.

The mice that were given the peptide by injection had about 60 percent less cancer than the mice that did not receive the peptide, Farias-Eisner said. The peptide also was given in drinking water or in mouse food and proved to be as effective when administered that way.

“It was an exciting result,” Farias-Eisner said. “It looked like we had something that could be ingested or injected that might be very effective against ovarian cancer progression.”

Farias-Eisner said the peptide avidly binds oxidized lipids, one of which is known to stimulate cancer cells to survive and multiply. In the mouse studies, the mice that received peptide had significantly lower levels of this cancer promoting lipid.

An early phase clinical trial is being planned testing the peptide in patients with aggressive ovarian cancers that are resistant to chemotherapy, a group of patients whose median survival is just 40 months. Farias-Eisner hopes the study will be started and completed within two years.

The study was funded by the Womens Endowment, the Carl and Roberta Deutsch Family Foundation, the Joan English Fund for Women’s Cancer Research, the National Institutes of Health and the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center has more than 240 researchers and clinicians engaged in disease research, prevention, detection, control, treatment and education. One of the nation’s largest comprehensive cancer centers, the Jonsson center is dedicated to promoting research and translating basic science into leading-edge clinical studies. In July 2010, the Jonsson Cancer Center was named among the top 10 cancer centers nationwide by U.S. News & World Report, a ranking it has held for 10 of the last 11 years. For more information on the Jonsson Cancer Center, visit our website at http://www.cancer.ucla.edu.

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