Big Data, Hidden Knowledge

Novel mathematical tools show promise in predicting ovarian cancer patient survival and sensitivity to platinum-based chemotherapy.

By Fedra Pavlou

At a Glance

  • Most ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed in advanced stages, and no diagnostic exists that distinguishes tumors that are resistant to traditional chemotherapy from those that aren’t
  • A team based at the University of Utah have developed a mathematical tool that analyzes DNA profiles from the Cancer Genome Atlas to discover patterns of DNA anomalies
  • Using this approach, they have been able to predict a woman’s outcome significantly better than can be done with the tumor’s stage; it is also the first known indicator of how well a woman will respond to platinum therapy
  • These DNA patterns could be the basis of a personalized prognostic and diagnostic laboratory test. The researchers continue to assess the patterns in ovarian cancer and plan to expand their mathematical modeling to other tumor types

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