Often, ovarian cancer remains undetected until it is at an advanced stage. Many patients are at risk of tumor recurrence, despite positive responses to initial treatment.
A multitude of genetic markers have been implicated in ovarian cancer prognosis. However, the genetic testing required is not practical or affordable in a clinical setting. In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Roel Verchaak and colleagues at the MD Anderson Cancer Center identify protein biomarkers that are predictive for time of ovarian cancer recurrence and develop a PRotein-driven index of OVARian cancer (PROVAR). Using PROVAR, the authors were able to discriminate between patients with high and low risk of cancer recurrence, as well as short-term and long-term survival prognosis. In combination with genetic diagnosis, analysis of protein biomarkers may be useful in predicting outcome and determining a treatment plan for ovarian cancer patients.