Glimmer of Hope: Johns Hopkins Uses Pap Smear Test Cervical Fluid to Detect Ovarian & Endometrial Cancers

Using cervical fluid obtained during routine Pap tests, scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have developed a test to detect ovarian and endometrial cancers. The investigators note that larger-scale studies are needed prior to clinical use on women. 

Using cervical fluid obtained during routine Pap tests, scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have developed a test to detect ovarian and endometrial cancers. Results of the experiments are published in the January 9 issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine.

In a pilot study, the “PapGene” test, which relies on genomic sequencing of cancer-specific mutations, accurately detected all 24 (100 percent) endometrial cancers and nine of 22 (41 percent) ovarian cancers. The endometrial cancers may have been easier to find because cells from those tumors do not have as far to travel as ovarian cancer cells. The Hopkins researchers will study whether inserting the Pap brush deeper, testing during different times of the menstrual cycle, or other factors might improve detection of ovarian cancer.

The investigators note that larger-scale studies are needed prior to clinical use on women, but they believe the test has the potential to pioneer genomic-based, cancer screening tests. [Emphasis added]

The Papanicolaou (Pap) test, during which cells collected from the cervix are examined for microscopic signs of cancer, is widely and successfully used to screen for cervical cancers. Today, many women’s Paps undergo an additional DNA-based test to see if they harbor the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can spur cervical cancer. However, no routine screening method is available for ovarian or endometrial cancers.

 Luis Diaz, M.D.

Luis Alberto Diaz, M.D.

Since the Pap test occasionally contains cells shed from the ovaries or endometrium, cancer cells arising from these organs could be present in the fluid as well, says Luis Diaz, M.D., associate professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins, as well as director of translational medicine at the Ludwig Center for Cancer Genetics and Therapeutics and director of the Swim Across America Laboratory, also at Johns Hopkins. The laboratory is sponsored by a volunteer organization that raises funds for cancer research through swim events. “Our genomic sequencing approach may offer the potential to detect these cancer cells in a scalable and cost-effective way,” adds Diaz.

Hear Dr. Diaz discuss the PapGene test research in this hyperlinked podcast, courtesy of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Cervical fluid of patients with gynecologic cancer carries normal cellular DNA mixed together with DNA from cancer cells, according to the investigators. The investigators’ task was to use genomic sequencing to distinguish cancerous from normal DNA.

The scientists had to determine the most common genetic changes in ovarian and endometrial cancers in order to prioritize which genomic regions to include in their test. They searched publicly available genome-wide studies of ovarian cancer, including those done by other Johns Hopkins investigators, to find mutations specific to ovarian cancer. Such genome-wide studies were not available for the most common type of endometrial cancer, so they conducted genome-wide sequencing studies on 22 of these endometrial cancers.

From the ovarian and endometrial cancer genome data, the Johns Hopkins-led team identified 12 of the most frequently mutated genes in both cancers and developed the PapGene test with this insight in mind.

The investigators then applied PapGene on Pap test samples from ovarian and endometrial cancer patients at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the University of São Paulo in Brazil and ILSbio, a tissue bank. The new test detected both early- and late-stage disease in the endometrial and ovarian cancers tested. No healthy women in the control group were misclassified as having cancer.

Animation of PapGene:

Looking ahead, the investigators’ next steps include applying PapGene on more samples and working to increase the test’s sensitivity in detecting ovarian cancer. “Performing the test at different times during the menstrual cycle, inserting the cervical brush deeper into the cervical canal, and assessing more regions of the genome may boost the sensitivity,” says Chetan Bettegowda, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins and a member of the Ludwig Center as well.

Together, ovarian and endometrial cancers are diagnosed in nearly 70,000 women in the United States each year, and about one-third of them will die from it. “Genomic-based tests could help detect ovarian and endometrial cancers early enough to cure more of them,” says graduate student Yuxuan Wang, who notes that the cost of the test could be similar to current cervical fluid HPV testing, which is less than $100.

PapGene is a high-sensitivity approach for the detection of cancer-specific DNA mutations, according to the investigators; however, false mutations can be erroneously created during the many steps — including amplification, sequencing and analysis — required to prepare the DNA collected from a Pap test specimen for sequencing. This required the investigators to build a safeguard into PapGene’s sequencing method, designed to weed out artifacts that could lead to misleading test results.

“If unaccounted for, artifacts could lead to a false positive test result and incorrectly indicate that a healthy person has cancer,” says graduate student Isaac Kinde.

Kinde added a unique genetic barcode — a random set of 14 DNA base pairs — to each DNA fragment at an initial stage of the sample preparation process. Although each DNA fragment is copied many times before eventually being sequenced, all of the newly copied DNA can be traced back to one original DNA molecule through their genetic barcodes. If the copies originating from the same DNA molecule do not all contain the same mutation, then an artifact is suspected and the mutation is disregarded. However, bonafide mutations, which exist in the sample before the initial barcoding step, will be present in all of the copies originating from the original DNA molecule.

The Johns Hopkins test results demonstrate that DNA from most endometrial and a fraction of ovarian cancers can be detected in a standard liquid-based Pap smear specimen obtained during routine pelvic examination. Although improvements need to be made before applying this test in a routine clinical manner, it represents a promising first step toward a broadly applicable screening methodology for the early detection of gynecologic malignancies.

“This is very encouraging, and it shows great potential,” said American Cancer Society genetics expert Michael Melner.

“We are a long way from being able to see any impact on our patients,” cautioned Dr. Shannon N. Westin of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Westin reviewed the research in an accompanying editorial, and said the ovarian cancer detection would need improvement if the test is to work. But Dr. Westin noted that ovarian cancer has poor survival rates because it’s rarely caught early. “If this screening test could identify ovarian cancer at an early stage, there would be a profound impact on patient outcomes and mortality,” Westin said.

More than 22,000 U.S. women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, and more than 15,000 die. Symptoms such as bloating and pelvic or abdominal pain are seldom obvious until the cancer is more advanced, and numerous attempts at screening tests have failed.

Endometrial cancer affects about 47,000 U.S. women a year, and kills about 8,000. There is no screening test for it either, but most women are diagnosed early because of postmenopausal bleeding.


Funding for the research was provided by Swim Across America, the Commonwealth Fund, the Hilton-Ludwig Cancer Prevention Initiative, the Virginia & D.K. Ludwig Fund for Cancer Research, the Experimental Therapeutics Center of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the Chia Family Foundation, The Honorable Tina Brozman Foundation, the United Negro College Fund/Merck Graduate Science Research Dissertation Fellowship, the Burroughs Wellcome Career Award for Medical Scientists, the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance and the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute (N01-CN-43309, CA129825, CA43460).

In addition to Kinde, Bettegowda, Wang and Diaz, investigators participating in the research include Jian Wu, Nishant Agrawal, Ie-Ming Shih, Robert Kurman, Robert Giuntoli, Richard Roden and James R. Eshleman from Johns Hopkins; Nickolas Papadopoulos, Kenneth Kinzler and Bert Vogelstein from the Ludwig Center at Johns Hopkins; Fanny Dao and Douglas A. Levine from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; and Jesus Paula Carvalho and Suely Kazue Nagahashi Marie from the University of São Paulo.

Papadopoulos, Kinzler, Vogelstein and Diaz are co-founders of Inostics and Personal Genome Diagnostics. They own stocks in the companies and are members of their Scientific Advisory Boards. Inostics and Personal Genome Diagnostics have licensed several patent applications from Johns Hopkins. These relationships are subject to certain restrictions under The Johns Hopkins University policy, and the terms of these arrangements are managed by the university in accordance with its conflict-of-interest policies.



I. Kinde, C. Bettegowda, Y. Wang, J. et. al. Evaluation of DNA from the Papanicolaou Test to Detect Ovarian and Endometrial Cancers. Sci. Transl. Med. 5, 167ra4 (2013).

S. N. Westin, G. B. Mills, A. P. Myers, Repurposing the Pap Smear: One Step Closer to Gynecologic Cancer Screening. Sci. Transl. Med. 5, 167ps1 (2013).

Additional Sources:

Johns Hopkins Scients Use Pap Test Fluid to Detect Ovarian, Endometrial Cancers, John Hopkins Medicine, Press Release, January 9, 2013.

Retooling Pap Test To Spot More Kinds Of Cancer, The Associated Press via National Public Radio, January 9, 2013.

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 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.]



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

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)


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)


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)


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)


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


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

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.


Additional Information:

To Screen or Not To Screen? Ultrasound + CA125 Blood Test Fail to Detect Early Stage Ovarian Cancer

On March 10, 2009, Libby’s H*O*P*E*™ reported on the preliminary findings of a large British study that suggest that the combination of transvaginal ultrasound and CA125 blood test (a blood serum marker for ovarian cancer) can detect early ovarian cancer.  A recent U.S. study, published in the April 2009 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, found that the same combination screening regime did not detect early stage ovarian cancer and often resulted in unnecessary surgery. The U.S. and British studies, taken together, highlight the need to find an effective screening method to detect ovarian cancer.

On March 10, 2009, Libby’s H*O*P*E*™ reported on the preliminary findings of a large British study that suggest that the combination of transvaginal ultrasound and CA125 blood test (a blood serum marker for ovarian cancer) can detect early ovarian cancer.  A recent U.S. study, published in the April 2009 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, found that the same combination screening regime did not detect early stage ovarian cancer and often resulted in unnecessary surgery. The U.S. and British studies, taken together, highlight the need to find an effective screening method to detect ovarian cancer.


Dr. Edward E. Partridge is the Director of the University of Alabama Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center, Birmingham, Alabama.

In a recent interview with U.S. News & World Report, the lead researcher of the U.S. study, Dr. Edward Partridge, Director of the University of Alabama Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center, said, “The jury is still out on the efficacy of screening with CA125 and transvaginal ultrasound in terms of reducing the mortality rate of ovarian cancer.  In this study, we do not have mortality data on the screening versus the non-screening group, so no conclusions can be made of the impact of screening with CA125 and transvaginal ultrasound.”

Partridge noted that this study only reports data on women who were screened. “We learned that the positive predictive value for the combination of tests is pretty low — in the 1 to 1.3 percent range,” he said. “A substantial number of the tests are false positives.”  In addition, screening with transvaginal ultrasound lead to a higher rate of surgery for positive findings than positive CA125, Partridge said. “Transvaginal ultrasound leads to more ‘unnecessary’ surgeries,” he said.  Partridge also noted that a high percentage of the cancers detected through screening were late-stage malignancies.  “If you detect them at a late stage, it is unlikely that you are going to impact mortality,” he said. “In order to affect mortality, one has to detect them at an earlier stage.”

As part of the study, the U.S. researchers collected data on 34,261 women who underwent annual screening for CA125 and also had transvaginal ultrasound.  A CA 125 value at or above 35 units/mL or an abnormality on transvaginal ultrasound was considered a “positive” screen.  The researchers found that  transvaginal ultrasound produced more positive findings for cancer than CA125 screening over the four years of screening, while the CA125 positive tests decreased from 60 percent in the first year to 34 percent in the third year.  Of the 89 invasive ovarian cancers diagnosed, 60 were detected through screening. In addition, 72 percent of the screen-detected cancer were late-stage cancers, the U.S. researchers reported.

Partridge told U.S. News & World Report that even detecting cancer early may not have an impact on mortality. “In any screening trial, the ultimate test of its usefulness is does it impact mortality,” he said.  Patridge added that based upon the findings of this study and The United Kingdom Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS) study published by Menon et. al. in the March 10 online edition of  The Lancet Oncology, the CA125 blood test & ultrasound screening method will not have any effect on mortality. “What we need is a more sensitive and specific screening test,” Partridge said.

In the UKCTOCS study, a British research team found that screening was able to identify most women with gynecologic cancer. The combination of the CA125 blood test and ultrasound found 90 percent of the cancers, while ultrasound alone found 75 percent of the cancers.  The researchers also found that almost 50 percent of all the cancers found were in an early stage (stage I or II).  And, 48 percent of the more invasive ovarian cancers detected were designated as being stage I tumors. By way of comparison, the British researchers pointed out that only 28 percent of ovarian cancers are identified in this early stage.

Dr. David G. Mutch, the Ira C. and Judith Gall Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Washington University, St. Louis, and author of an accompanying journal editorial, agreed there is no worthwhile screening test for ovarian cancer as yet.  “Patients who were screened presented at the same stage as they would have if they were unscreened,” Mutch said. “There is no good screening test at this point.”  Mutch added that there is no reason to screen for ovarian cancer in the general population at this point. “The prevalence of the diseases is so low, one in 2,500, and the specificity of the tests are so low, that we are going to operate on a lot of patients unnecessarily,” he said.

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