Every cell in the human body contains hundreds of thousands of genes and the proteins made by the genes. Sometimes changes take place in the genes or proteins that may make the cells more likely to develop into cancer. An experimental protein profile test that finds these changes may be able to provide information about whose cancer will stay in remission and whose will return.
Volunteer patients whose epithelial ovarian cancer is in remission are eligible for this study. Specimens will be collected from blood, saliva, and urine for the first protein profile test. Sample sets for more protein profile tests will be collected at follow-up visits 1 month and 3 months later and every 3 months afterward. If and when the cancer returns, an additional sample set will be obtained and a biopsy of the relapsed tumor will be taken both for a protein profile test and for review of the function and structure of the disease (pathology review). The protein profiles from these samples will be compared to those samples already collected to detect protein pattern changes. The amount of lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) in the blood, a sign of ovarian cancer, will also be measured to see if LPA is useful in detecting the return of ovarian cancer.
If patients get fluid in the stomach or chest, it will be tested for cancer cells and proteins made by the tumor. If a physical exam or CT scan indicates a possible return of the cancer, a biopsy will be performed and a sample saved for a protein profile.
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Over 80 percent of advanced stage epithelial cancer patients relapse after attaining first clinical remission with standard platinum/paclitaxel-based chemotherapy. Surrogate biomarkers are needed for the evaluation of efficacy of treatment and for use as predictors of disease in screening and for relapse diagnosis. CA-125, the existing ovarian cancer marker, will become elevated with relapse in some but not all of the 80 percent of patients for whom it was increased at initial diagnosis. Elevation in CA-125 may precede clinical evidence of relapse by as much as 6 - 10 months or lag behind clinical relapse by the same time intervals, making it a less than satisfactory clinical tool. Emerging proteomic technologies allow for scanning of cellular proteins in a simple, short, reproducible, and quantitative chemical assay. We hypothesize that changes in a patient's protein pattern will be detectable and will be reliably associated with relapse. This protocol is a pilot study for our ability to ascertain and evaluate samples from ovarian cancer patients followed in first clinical remission, and investigate whether analysis of sequential protein fingerprints will yield a reproducible pattern of change that may be associated with relapse.