Vi­tal clue in fight to beat ovar­ian cancer

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - The Everest - SARAH WIEDERSEHN

PRE­DICT­ING a woman’s chances of sur­viv­ing ovar­ian cancer could be made eas­ier fol­low­ing a dis­cov­ery by in­ter­na­tional re­searchers.

Led by the US Mayo Clinic and UNSW Syd­ney, they found pa­tients with a high level of white blood cells called tu­mour in­fil­trat­ing lym­pho­cytes (TILs) had a greater chance of re­cov­er­ing.

About 1500 Aus­tralian women are di­ag­nosed with ovar­ian cancer ev­ery year and the over­all five-year sur­vival rate is just 43 per cent.

Anal­y­sis of ovar­ian tu­mour tis­sue sam­ples taken from more than 5500 pa­tients found pa­tients with high-grade ovar­ian cancer showed the most in­fil­tra­tion with TILs, which were as­so­ci­ated with longer over­all sur­vival.

The find­ings of the Ovar­ian Tu­mour Tis­sue Anal­y­sis study are pub­lished in the jour­nal JAMA On­col­ogy.

Dr Matthew Block, a US on­col­o­gist at the Mayo Clinic, says lit­tle was known about the role of TILs in fight­ing high­grade ovar­ian cancer. How­ever, this study shows a spe­cific type of TIL has an im­por­tant role to play in fight­ing the dis­ease.

What was im­por­tant was try­ing to de­velop ways to in­crease the num­ber of those white blood cells, he said.

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