A combined biomarker panel shows improved sensitivity for the early detection of ovarian cancer allowing the identification of the most aggressive Type II tumours.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • External authors:
  • Matthew Russell
  • Ciaren Graham
  • Alfonsina D'Amato
  • Aleksandra Gentry-Maharaj
  • Andy Ryan
  • Jatinderpal Kalsi
  • Carol Ainley
  • Usha Menon
  • Ian Jacobs


Background There is an urgent need for biomarkers for the early detection of ovarian cancer. The purpose of this study was to assess whether changes in serum levels of LCAT, SHBG, GRP78, calprotectin and IGFBP2 are observed prior to clinical presentation and to assess the performance of these markers alone and in combination with CA125 for early detection. Methods This nested case control study used samples from the UKCTOCS trial. The sample set consisted of 482 serum samples from 49 OC subjects and 31 controls, with serial samples spanning up to seven years pre-diagnosis. The set was divided into: (I) a discovery set which included all women with only two samples from each woman, the first at < 14 months and the second at > 32 months to diagnosis; and (ii) a corroboration set which included all the serial samples from the same women spanning the 7 year period. LCAT, SHBG, GRP78, calprotectin and IGFBP2 were measured using ELISA. The performance of the markers to detect cancers pre-diagnosis was assessed. Results A combined threshold model IGFBP2 >78.5 ng/mL: LCAT <8.831 μg/mL: CA125 >35 U/mL outperformed CA125 alone for the earlier detection of ovarian cancer. The threshold model was able to identify the most aggressive Type II cancers. In addition, it increased the lead time by 5-6 months and identified 26% of Type I subjects and 13% of Type II subjects that were not identified by CA125 alone. Conclusion Combined biomarker panels (IGFBP2, LCAT and CA125) outperformed CA125 up to 3 years prediagnosis, identifying cancers missed by CA125, providing increased diagnostic lead times for Type I and Type II OC. The model identified more aggressive Type II cancers, with women crossing the threshold dying earlier; indicating that these markers can improve on the sensitivity of CA125 alone for the early detection of ovarian cancer.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)666-674
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Early online date29 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Related information