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New Medical Discovery

T.E.A.L.® Funded Research Presented at the 2016 Society of Gynecologic Oncologists Meeting

To improve the diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer, T.E.A.L.® short for Tell Every Amazing Lady® funded Drs. Barbara Goff and Renata Urban from the University of Washington to study the prospective use of a Symptom Index in addition to tumor markers and a multivariate biomarker, Overa™ —  a recently FDA-cleared multivariate blood test —  in women undergoing surgery for a pelvic mass.

A Symptom Index is considered positive if a woman experiences any one of six symptoms (bloating, increased abdominal sized, difficulty eating, feeling full quickly, pelvic or abdominal pain) more than 12 times in a month and for a duration of less than a year.

The study enrolled 218 women, all who had a blood draw for tumor/biomarkers and completed a Symptom Index. Study results presented at the Society of Gynecologic Oncology’s  47th Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer in San Diego found that the Symptom Index improved the diagnostic accuracy of all tumor/biomarkers to detect malignancy.  In addition, the combination of the Symptom Index and Overa™  allowed for a personalized approach to assessing the risk of malignancy.   “I believe that there is enormous potential when advocacy and science team up together,” said Dr. Goff, UW professor of obstetrics and gynecology. “Our T.E.A.L.® Foundation grant allowed us to focus on issues that are important to patients but not always funded by the scientific community. Our goal was to assess how symptoms impacted several different combinations of biologic assays to detect Ovarian Cancer in women with a pelvic mass.  As I think the survivor community has expressed over and over, symptoms are important and help informed physicians make a diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer.” Goff said that a positive Symptom Index improved the diagnostic accuracy of the multivariate assay as well as standard tumor markers to distinguish benign from malignant ovarian masses.

“Our research reinforces that symptoms play an important role in diagnosis,” she said.  “In addition, we found that in women with symptoms, using CA125 and HE4 may be an excellent screening test for primary care physicians to evaluate for the possibility of Ovarian Cancer in women with a positive Symptom Index .” 

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