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Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute

clinical fellow

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Ovarian cancer (OC) is the fifth most common cancer in women in the UK with approximately 7,000 new cases diagnosed in 2009. Owing to the non-specific symptoms of OC women tend to present with advanced disease. 5-year survival rates are 43% overall but are over 90% for tumours diagnosed early. Currently all patients with suspected OC are triaged using a CA125 blood test and pelvic ultrasound scan to calculate a Risk of Malignancy Index (RMI). Due to the current difficulties of early diagnosis of OC and poor outcome in patients diagnosed with advanced disease work is being done to identify new cancer markers that can potentially be used to improve decision making in the investigation and treatment of OC and subsequently be used in population screening for OC. Somatic mutations are highly specific biomarkers of cancer. It has been shown that somatic mutations can be identified in blood samples from patients with relapsed OC. We propose to look at somatic mutations in blood and cervical smear samples from women with OC at the time of diagnosis. If such mutations could be detected this could be used as a non-invasive method for cancer diagnosis that could potentially increase the early detection of such cancers and thereby improve disease outcome.

Aims

 

1) To determine if somatic mutations can be detected in blood samples at the time of diagnosis of OC.

2) To establish whether mutations detected in blood samples can also be detected in cervical samples.

Work address: 

Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
University of Cambridge
Li Ka Shing Centre
Robinson Way
Cambridge CB2 0RE

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