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DNA Marker In Blood Could Reveal Ovarian Cancer One Year Earlier Than Before

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A group of researchers has discovered that ovarian cancer could be identified earlier more than one year due to a latest method of spotting DNA patterns in blood samples.

The research was released in the journal of Genome Medicine,  by scientists from University College London. The team found a region of DNA known as EFC#93, which showed abnormal patterns of DNA methylation when breast cancer was present.

DNA methylation is when methyl groups are added to DNA, modifying the function of the genes and the gene expression. These changes have been discovered to take place early in breast cancer development.

Each year sees 522,000 women being dead because of breast cancer, the most common cancer in female. However, if it could be earlier detected, the cure rate would be reach a 90 percent. So the above-mentioned research would be tremendously  beneficial to treatment of breast cancer. In most cases,  mammography, the medical imaging method is applied for early diagnosis, but it has some limitations.

Talking of their project, Professor Martin Widschwendter, lead author on the study from University College London, said in a statement that for the first time, their research approved that serum DNA methylation markers such as EFC#93 provided a highly specific indicator that could diagnose fatal breast cancers up to one year in advance of current diagnosis. This could lead to individualized treatment, which could start even lacking in radiological evidence in the breast.

In their project, a total of 1,869 blood serum samples and 31 tissues were used, including healthy women and ovarian cancer patients. Of the samples, 419 were taken from patients after surgery and then after chemotherapy was completed.

The results demonstrated that in 88 percent of cases, ovarian cancer could be detected 1-2 years before it was generally identified . People with ovarian cancer were diagnosed with 91 percent accuracy in a follow-up study.

In their paper, it is hoped that the test could be used in population-wide screening, offering assistance in prevention of premature deaths. Their next move would focus on clinical trials to see how useful the technique could be, but the results so far was surly promising. It is quite certain that detection of EFC#93 serum DNA patterns would provide a new tool for early diagnosis and management of disseminated breast cancers.

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