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Aggressive ovarian cancer linked to overexpression of five genes. (Quest to Develop Multimodal Screen).

ORLANDO, FLA.--Overexpression of five genes on chromosome 19 is associated with tumor growth, aggressiveness, and metastasis of ovarian cancer and may prove useful for clinical diagnosis and management, preliminary research suggests.

"We are trying to develop a multimodal screen for ovarian cancer," Dr. George Yousef said at the annual meeting of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry. Like many cancers, multiple genetic effects spur ovarian cancer, and a clinical test for early detection or disease progression would include a panel of genetic markers.

Dr. Yousef and his associates at the University of Toronto identified 15 genes that program for proteins involved in various disease states, including cancer. These proteins are called kallikreins and are present in the bloodstream, making them suitable for clinical detection. A well-known example of a kallikrein is PSA (hK3), which is used in diagnosing prostate cancer.

Chromosome 19 is a "hotbed for cancer," said Dr. Yousef a postdoctoral scientist at the Toronto Kallikrein Laboratory.

Genetic markers for ovarian cancer would not only aid in early diagnosis but could also help qualify the tumor because overexpression is associated with more aggressive disease. "If a patient is identified with a more aggressive form of disease, he receives more aggressive therapy This genetic test could also avoid the unwanted side effects of therapy in patients with mild or no cancer," he said.

In the future, the research will be directed toward elucidating the kallikrein role in cancer progression. "We are trying to find a way to modify expression of the genes, which may stop all or some of the cancer," Dr. Yousef said.

For more information on research conducted by Dr. Yousef and his colleagues, visit
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Author:McNamara, Damian
Publication:Internal Medicine News
Date:Nov 1, 2002
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