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Molecule may reveal ovarian cancer

Scientists trying to find warning signs of ovarian cancer have identified several proteins that sometimes turn up loud and clear in the early stages of this cancer. Unfortunately, they don't appear consistently, so the search for more such markers continues.

In the Oct. 3 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers report that blood from ovarian cancer patients harbored nearly double the amount of a protein called prostasin that blood from similarly aged women free of cancer had.

Samuel C. Mok, a molecular biologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and his colleagues used so-called microarray technology to find genes that are especially active in ovarian-tumor cells. They found 30 such genes and zeroed in on a few that encode certain kinds of proteins with known links to cancer, including prostasin.

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