Evaluation of the Glycomics Assay as a Diagnostic Test for Epithelial Ovarian Cancer
Principal Investigator: Professor Gary Leiserowitz, M.D.
Research funding: Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (www.ocrf.org)
Glycomic analysis involves the study of the carbohydrate components (i.e., oligosaccharides or glycans) that decorate glycoconjugates such as proteins or lipids. Through our current collaborations, we have pioneered the use of glycomics analysis for cancer diagnosis. In the process of these investigations, we have developed a robust set of analytical tools to characterize the informative glycans that can discriminate between healthy controls and cancer patients. This technology involves isolation of the glycans from their underlying glycoproteins, mass spectrometric separation and identification, and bio-informatics analysis. Although the glycoproteins from ovarian cancer cells contribute only a small fraction of the overall protein composition of human serum, our preliminary investigations in this area have successfully identified a unique glycomics pattern in patients with epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) compared to healthy female controls. We offer a three component proposal to develop a novel diagnostic test for epithelial ovarian cancer and further understand the cancer biology of this phenomenon: 1) optimize the glycomics profile for clinical use by improving the assay throughput and data analysis, 2) validate the diagnostic accuracy of the glycomics profile for epithelial ovarian cancer and 3) continue to illuminate the pathogenesis of the aberrant glycans detected in EOC by analysis of cancer cell lines, extracted tumor cells, ascites, cancer stem cells, and patient serum. Feedback from the cancer biology studies (3rd component) should allow us to better focus and refine the initial glycomics profile into a more sensitive and specific diagnostic test.