Proteomic signature for detection of high-grade ovarian cancer in germline BRCA mutation carriers

Int J Cancer. 2023 Feb 15;152(4):781-793. doi: 10.1002/ijc.34318. Epub 2022 Oct 23.


No current screening methods for high-grade ovarian cancer (HGOC) guarantee effective early detection for high-risk women such as germline BRCA mutation carriers. Therefore, the standard-of-care remains risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy (RRSO) around age 40. Proximal liquid biopsy is a promising source of biomarkers, but sensitivity has not yet qualified for clinical implementation. We aimed to develop a proteomic assay based on proximal liquid biopsy, as a decision support tool for monitoring high-risk population. Ninety Israeli BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers were included in the training set (17 HGOC patients and 73 asymptomatic women), (BEDOCA trial; Identifier: NCT03150121). The proteome of the microvesicle fraction of the samples was profiled by mass spectrometry and a classifier was developed using logistic regression. An independent cohort of 98 BRCA mutation carriers was used for validation. Safety information was collected for all women who opted for uterine lavage in a clinic setting. We present a 7-protein diagnostic signature, with AUC >0.97 and a negative predictive value (NPV) of 100% for detecting HGOC. The AUC of the biomarker in the independent validation set was >0.94 and the NPV >99%. The sampling procedure was clinically acceptable, with favorable pain scores and safety. We conclude that the acquisition of Müllerian tract proximal liquid biopsies in women at high-risk for HGOC and the application of the BRCA-specific diagnostic assay demonstrates high sensitivity, specificity, technical feasibility and safety. Similar classifier for an average-risk population is warranted.

Keywords: BRCA; early detection biomarker; ovarian cancer; utero-tubal lavage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • BRCA1 Protein / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Female
  • Genes, BRCA2
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Germ-Line Mutation
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Ovarian Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Ovarian Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Ovarian Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Ovariectomy
  • Proteomics
  • Salpingo-oophorectomy


  • BRCA1 Protein

Associated data