A recent article in the journal Gynecologic Oncology reports that a new test that examines insulin-like growth factor (IGF-2) may predict poor survival for patients with epithelial ovarian cancer. Patients with high levels of IGF-2 may wish to undergo more aggressive treatment strategies than their counterparts.
Ovarian cancer is a malignancy that arises from various different cells within the ovaries. Approximately 25,000 new cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year. Epithelial ovarian cancer is a malignancy that arises from the cells that cover the ovary. Unfortunately, ovarian cancer often goes undetected until the disease has progressed into the abdomen or spread to other organs. The best “treatment” strategy for cancer is to prevent its occurrence or to detect it early when it is most treatable. Treating advanced ovarian cancer is often difficult and many patients have recurrent disease after they have completed treatment. This has prompted a great deal of research to identify ways of treating ovarian cancer and improving the overall outcomes.
In this recent study, researchers examined 109 epithelial ovarian cancer tissue samples for IGF-2 and compared them to normal epithelial ovarian cells. IGF-2 expression was noted to be significantly higher in the ovarian cancer specimen when compared to the normal ovarian samples. Higher levels of IGF-2 was also associated with advanced stages of cancer at the time of diagnosis, higher grade cancers, and less than optimal surgical outcomes. Overall, a higher level of IGF-2 was a predictor of poor survival.
Researchers concluded that IGF-2 is significantly higher in advanced, higher-grade ovarian cancers when compared to normal ovarian tissues and is a promising indicator of survival among patients with epithelial ovarian cancer. At some point in the future, these results may help researchers use IGF-2 as marker for ovarian cancer or as a possible target in the development of treatment for epithelial ovarian cancer.
Reference: Sayer R, Lancaster J, Pittman J, et al. High Insulin-Like Growth Factor-2 (IGF-2) Gene Expression is an Independent Predictor of Poor Survival for Patients With Advanced Stage Serous Epithelial Ovarian Cancer. Gynecolgic Oncology. 2005; 96: 355-361.