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According to an article recently published in the International Journal of Gynecologic Cancer, expression of the protein referred to as CD24 is associated with significantly poorer outcomes, including survival, among women with ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer is considered to be a deadly cancer; this is because the vast majority of patients are diagnosed once the disease has spread from the ovaries to other sites in the body. Standard therapy for ovarian cancer includes surgery to remove the cancer, if possible, followed by chemotherapy with or without radiation therapy.

In order to improve outcomes for patients with ovarian cancer, researchers continue to evaluate new treatment approaches. In addition, research is focused on identifying specific cancer or patient characteristics that are associated with different outcomes. Patients and physicians can thus make more informed treatment decisions and ultimately individualize treatment.

Researchers from Germany and Poland recently conducted a study to evaluate the potential of the protein CD24 to predict outcomes in ovarian cancer. This study included cancer cell samples from 73 ovarian cancers. A potential association between expression of CD24 and patient outcomes was evaluated.

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  • Women with cancer cells that expressed CD24 had a significantly poorer progression-free survival than women whose cancer did not express CD24.
  • Women with cancer cells that expressed CD24 had a significantly poorer overall survival than women whose cancer did not express CD24.

The researchers concluded that women with ovarian cancer whose cancerous cells express the protein CD24 have a significantly poorer progression-free and overall survival following standard therapies than women whose cancer does not express CD24.

Although these results need further studies to provide confirmation, women whose cancer expresses CD24 may ultimately have better outcomes with more aggressive therapies or the participation in a clinical trial.

Reference: Surowiak P, Materna V, Kaplenko I, et al. Unfavorable prognostic value of CD24 expression in sections from primary and relapsed ovarian cancer tissue. *International Journal of Gynecologic Cancer.*2006;16: 515-521.

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