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What is the role of osteopontin (OPN) in ovarian cancer?

David A. Fishman, MD
Gynecologic Oncology
Osteopontin (OPN) is an adhesive glycoprotein that has been found to be involved in tumor metastasis and progression. Osteopontin has a role in bone remodeling as well as certain immune functions. This biomarker (characteristic used in screening, early diagnosis, prognosis, tracking treatment response or recurrence of disease) is made by osteoblasts and endothelial cells. There is evidence that osteopontin is made by macrophages in the ovarian tumor microenvironment. Increased levels of osteopontin are associated with tumor metastasis, as one of the functions of this protein is the inhibition of apoptosis. It has been shown to be involved in survival and cell proliferation, as well as invasion.

After surgical intervention for ovarian cancer, OPN has been used to monitor for disease recurrence. Higher levels of OPN are associated with poorer prognosis. OPN as a sole biomarker has a sensitivity of 81.3%. When combined with cancer antigen 125(CA125) there is a 33.7% specificity and 93.8% sensitivity. A potential use of OPN is in early noninvasive detection of ovarian cancer, as levels may be measured in urine.

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