OVARIAN CANCER IS THE 7TH MOST PREVALENT CANCER IN WOMEN AND IS THE MOST LETHAL, RESPONSIBLE FOR 152,000 CANCER-RELATED DEATHS IN WOMEN EVERY YEAR.
The 5-yr patient survivability at early stage (Stage I and II) ovarian cancer is 90-70%. This drastically decreases to 30-20% in late stages (Stage III and IV). Early stage detection is poor as there is a lack of specific symptoms at this stage and can be easily dismissed.
In a typical ovarian cancer diagnostic pathway, a patient with non-specific but persistent symptoms such as pelvic pains or abdominal bloating will undergo transvaginal ultrasonography to determine presence of adnexal mass and a CA-125 protein marker blood test, to predict ovarian cancer in relation to elevated CA-125 levels.
These tests are not definitive for ovarian cancer as an adnexal mass could either be benign or malignant. Moreover, CA-125 cannot accurately diagnose early stage ovarian cancer in women, leading to false negative results, and can in fact be elevated in non-ovarian cancer conditions, causing false positive outcomes.
Such ambiguity can lead to the wrong dismissal of ovarian cancer. The only definitive determination of ovarian cancer is by pathological examination of tissue biopsy through surgical laparoscopic cystectomy, which is invasive.
Alternative blood-based biomarkers has been discovered and validated in recent years. miRNAs have shown potential as biomarkers and has ushered a new wave of miRNA-based molecular diagnostics.
INEX has been working with A*STAR, NUS along with MiRXES’ to develop XENA® - an innovative early detection blood test for Ovarian Cancer, based on detecting cell-free microRNA biomarkers.