Aggressive ovarian cancer may be linked to blood disorder

March 17, 2002

Los Angeles (Embargoed until March 17, 2002, 1pm, EST) Aggressive ovarian cancer may be linked to the presence of thrombocytosis, a blood disorder characterized by high platelet cell counts, report investigators at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The findings, presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists, may lead to the development of more targeted therapies and help physicians to offer their patients more effective treatment options.

"Our findings show that thrombocytosis correlates with a more aggressive tumor biology in ovarian cancer and a poorer response to treatment," said Dr. Beth Karlan, Medical Director of the Women's Cancer Research Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and senior author of the study. "Knowing which patients have this disorder in addition to their cancer, will enable us to select patients who might benefit from experimental and other treatment approaches."

Platelets, the smallest of the blood cells, are involved in clotting and enable the body to control bleeding. In normal conditions, platelet levels are regulated by factors in the bone marrow, but cancer cells may secrete substances that induce the marrow to produce platelets in excessively large quantities. In turn, platelets may then produce factors that cause cancer cells to grow or spread.

To determine whether thrombocytosis played a role in ovarian cancer tumor growth and metastasis, the investigators examined the records of 183 consecutive patients with and without thrombocytosis who had undergone surgery for advanced ovarian cancer. They found that 41 of the 183 patients demonstrated thrombocytosis prior to surgery and that those with the disorder had higher CA-125 levels, (a marker for ovarian cancer), more advanced stage disease, higher grade tumors, and a greater tendency of cancer that had spread to the lymph nodes.

"These findings indicate that thrombocytosis is somehow linked to more aggressive ovarian cancer," said Dr. Karlan. "Our next step will be to figure out whether thrombocytosis is a reaction to more aggressive ovarian cancer or whether the disorder itself exacerbates the disease, leading to poorer treatment outcomes for patients. What we find may also point to novel prevention approaches for our patients."

Although surgery successfully removed most of the cancer in 87 percent of all patients with and without thrombocytosis, the investigators found that almost half the patients with thrombocytosis prior to surgery demonstrated a greater degree of residual cancer after the operation. On the other hand, they found that only four of the 142 patients without thrombocytosis had residual disease greater than 1 cm after surgery. Further, the patients with thrombocytosis remained disease-free for only about 38 months, while those without the disorder were free of cancer for approximately 49 months - nearly a year longer. Ultimately, those women with ovarian cancer who also had thrombocytosis lived 15 months less than those who did not have the disorder prior to surgery.

"Now that we know that surgery is less likely to remove all the visible cancer in patients with thrombocytosis and that these patients' cancers are more likely to recur, we can individualize their treatments or use experimental therapies, which may improve their long-term survival," said Dr. Karlan.
-end-
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is one of the largest non-profit academic medical centers in the Western United States. For the fifth straight two-year period, Cedars-Sinai has been named Southern California's gold standard in health care in an independent survey. Cedars-Sinai is internationally renowned for its diagnostic and treatment capabilities and its broad spectrum of programs and services, as well as breakthroughs in biomedical research and superlative medical education.

Named one of the 100 "Most Wired" hospitals in health care in 2001, the Medical Center ranks among the top 10 non-university hospitals in the nation for its research activities.

For media information and to arrange an interview, please contact Kelli Stauning via e-mail at kelli.stauning@cshs.org, or call 310-423-3674.

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.