Protein could define risk of ovarian cancer return

In collaboration with the Press Association

Measuring the levels of a particular protein in a tumour sample could be be used to predict whether a woman?s ovarian cancer will return after treatment, says a US study.

The protein, known as NAC-1, triggers unusual growth and slows the death of cells, both hallmarks of cancer, said the Kimmel Cancer Centre researchers.

"Now there's the possibility that testing for NAC-1 protein in cancer tissue removed during surgery might identify women most at risk for recurrence and guide doctors and patients to greater vigilance and extended therapy," said Dr Ie-Ming Shih of the Kimmel Cancer Centre.

He added that NAC-1 could be a possible target for future ovarian cancer treatment. An estimated 60 per cent of ovarian cancer patients see their tumours return after surgery.

A preliminary laboratory study showed that artificially blocking NAC-1 proteins from binding to each other, which in turn blocked cancer growth.

The study is published in the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.