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A cancer research breakthrough

Queen’s University cancer researcher Madhuri Koti has discovered a biomarker that will help lead to better predictions of the success of chemotherapy in ovarian cancer patients. This discovery could lead to better treatment options in the fight against ovarian cancer.

Biomarkers are an indicator of a biological state or condition.

Queen's researcher Madhuri Koti recently made a breakthrough in cancer research.

“Recent successes in harnessing the immune system to combat cancer are evidence for the significant roles of a cancer patient’s immune responses in fighting cancer,” explains Dr. Koti (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences). “Many of these success are based on boosting anti-cancer immunity via different therapies. Such therapies would prove to be most effective when coupled with markers predicting a patient’s eventual response to a specific therapy.”

Dr. Koti conducted the study in retrospective cohorts of over 200 ovarian cancer patients.  

The study utilized a combination of recent cutting-edge and more established detection technologies for identifying such markers. Initial discovery of these markers was made in frozen tumor tissues accrued from tumor banks such as the Ontario Tumor Bank and the Ottawa Health Research Institute and Gynecology-Oncology and Pathology services of the CHUMHospital Notre-Dame, Montreal.

Phase II validations are currently under way in retrospective cohorts of over 500 ovarian cancer patient tumors accrued from the Terry Fox Research Institute-Ovarian Cancer Canada partnered, Canadian Ovarian Experimental Unified Resource.

A major impact of this discovery is that these novel markers, when used at the time of treatment initiation in the specific type of ovarian cancer patient, will help gynecologic oncologists make decisions on additional treatment needed in these patients, thus increasing the potential for patient survival.

Ovarian cancer leads to approximately 152,000 deaths among women worldwide each year, making it a leading cause of gynecological cancer related deaths in women.

The study was conducted in collaboration with Anne-Marie Mes-Masson, Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, Montreal, and Jeremy Squire, Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The findings were published recently in the British Journal of Cancer.