Early stage detection and screening of ovarian cancer: A research opportunity and significant challenge for biosensor technology.


Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, 80 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 3H6. Electronic address: [Email]


Women diagnosed with late-stage ovarian cancer suffer a very high rate of mortality. Accordingly, it is imperative to detect and diagnose the disease as early as possible in its development. Achievement of this aim implies relatively large scale screening of women at an age of clinically significance through assay of biomarkers for disease present in blood or serum. Biosensor detection offers an attractive technology for the automated detection of such species. Among several biomarkers that have been identified that are present in patients with ovarian cancer, the only one that is commonly tested for in clinical use is cancer antigen 125, which is considered to be poor biomarker for the disease. Here, we describe alternative biomarkers which overcome many of the problems associated with cancer antigen 125 such as increased sensitivity and specificity especially in the early stages of the disease and which could be employed successfully in a biosensor format. In particular, we discuss the chemistry of probes for the biomarkers, heat shock protein 10 and lysophosphatidic acid. The challenges presented by the fabrication of biosensor devices for the detection of the cancer, and the limited number of biosensors that have been developed for this purpose are discussed.



OUR Recent Articles