Other highlights in the February 16 JNCI

Trio of Papers Address Issues in Using Serum Proteomics for Detecting Ovarian Cancer

In 2002, a study reported that an analysis of protein patterns in a blood sample could be used to detect ovarian cancer. However, questions have been raised about whether the technology produces results that are reproducible and reliable enough for use as a screening test. A new study and two responding commentaries discuss these issues.

Keith A. Baggerly, Ph.D., of the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues examined the reproducibility of the proteomic pattern found in a previous study from a researcher at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, that used publicly available ovarian cancer datasets produced by Lance A. Liotta, M.D., Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute, and Emanuel F. Petricoin III, Ph.D., of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Baggerly and colleagues maintain that the patterns, which were derived from blood samples to determine whether or not women had ovarian cancer, were not biologically plausible. In addition, they found that the method used in the Stony Brook study to classify patterns performed no better than chance. They conclude that the reproducibility of the proteomic profiling approach remains an open question.

In a commentary, Liotta, Petricoin, and colleagues respond to the study by Baggerly et al. They note that, because the parameters of their experiments changed for each of the publicly available datasets, they were not surprised that the patterns were different. They write that this discrepancy highlights the need for improved communication among scientists who produce and analyze data and for the establishment of a common platform and standardized operating procedures for this new technology so such studies can be compared across different laboratories.

A second commentary, from David F. Ransohoff, M.D., of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, descr

Contact: Sarah L. Zielinski
Journal of the National Cancer Institute

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