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How can ovarian cancer genes be detected?

David A. Fishman, MD
Gynecologic Oncology
Transcriptomics is the study of the expression of genes in ovarian cancer. Examples are complementary deoxyribonucleic acid (cDNA) and oligonucleotide microarrays (a method to evaluate a myriad of genes) and serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE). SAGE is used to quantify gene expression by measuring messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) transcripts and creating a profile of the genes expressed physiologically and in ovarian cancer disease states. One advantage of this technology over microarrays is that it can detect previously unknown genes.

Among the biomarkers (cellular, biochemical and molecular characteristics used in screening, early diagnosis, prognosis, tracking treatment response, or recurrence of disease) most commonly identified as being overexpressed in ovarian cancer by transcriptomic studies is vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).

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