A shift underway is underway in how ovarian cancer is diagnosed and treated. The change is based on the idea that ovarian cancer may originate not in ovaries, but instead in the fallopian tubes, a notion explored in this recently published study in Nature Communications. The lead author of that study, Douglas A. Levine, MD, is director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center. He is also an investigator in a related clinical trial called WISP, which is comparing the removal of both ovaries and fallopian tubes, the standard treatment in at-risk patients, against removing only fallopian tubes, which may reduce cancer risk without bringing on immediate, early menopause.
The Wall Street Journal describes how Dr. Levine’s study took collections of tissue from women and looked at their fallopian tubes, ovaries, and the lining inside the abdomen. They developed molecular “signatures” to see which tissue the cancerous cells were more genetically similar to. The finding: in almost every case, the cancerous cells were most similar to the fallopian tube tissue.
“Ovarian cancer really comes from the fallopian tube,” says Dr. Levine. “Technically it’s fallopian tube cancer even though we’re not going to change the name.”
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