Published online Nov 24, 2020. doi: 10.5306/wjco.v11.i11.868
Peer-review started: March 29, 2020
First decision: June 20, 2020
Revised: July 29, 2020
Accepted: November 4, 2020
Article in press: November 4, 2020
Published online: November 24, 2020
Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is the most lethal gynaecological malignancy in the western world. The majority of women presenting with the disease are asymptomatic and it has been dubbed the “silent killer”. To date there is no effective minimally invasive method of stratifying those with the disease or screening for the disease in the general population. Recent molecular and pathological discoveries, along with the advancement of scientific technology, means there is a real possibility of having disease-specific liquid biopsies available within the clinical environment in the near future. In this review we discuss these discoveries, particularly in relation to the most common and aggressive form of EOC, and their role in making this possibility a reality.
Core Tip: Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), particularly high-grade serous carcinoma, is a gynaecological malignancy with a poor survival rate. Currently there is no effective disease-specific biomarker, which could improve detection rates and treatment algorithms, for any of the EOC types - this is an area of unmet clinical need. Circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) analysis has emerged as a potential blood-based “liquid biopsy” for early detection, diagnosis, staging and prognosis, monitoring response to treatment, monitoring minimal residual disease and relapse and identifying acquired drug resistance mechanisms. However, there are several obstacles to the development of cfDNA-based biomarkers which are discussed further in this in-depth review.