Scientists are constantly working on discovering treatments and ways to detect ovarian cancer earlier. Curing the cancer could be made easier if doctors detect it sooner in a patient. A national repository for blood and tissue samples from ovarian cancer patients is being created to aid in the studies researchers are doing. Researchers are using this repository to test the pattern of protein in the blood to see if that has an impact on the development of ovarian cancer.
Past tests that have looked at protein structures were OvaSure and OvaCheck. The FDA requested that these tests were taken off the market. The tests were unproven to be completely effective.
Since these two tests have been removed from the market, two large studies of screening have been completed. One of the screenings was in the US while the other took place in the UK. Both of these tests looked at utilizing the CA-125 blood test along with an ovarian ultrasound to detect ovarian cancer. These tests proved to find more cancers in women and at an earlier stage. However, the women screened with this new test did not experience a better outcome than the women who were not. The screened women did not live longer and were also not less likely die from ovarian cancer.
OVA1 is a test that is meant to be used on women who have an ovarian tumor. This test takes into consideration the levels of four proteins in the blood. These levels then separate women with tumors into two groups: low risk and high risk. Those who are labeled as low risk are not likely to have cancer while those labeled as high risk are much more likely to. Those that are labeled “high risk” typically should have surgery by a specialist to remove the tumor. Women without an ovarian tumor do not undergo this test.