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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 703048, 12 pages
Review Article

Microvesicles as Potential Ovarian Cancer Biomarkers

Department of Life, Health and Environmental Sciences, University of L’Aquila, 67100 L’Aquila, Italy

Received 12 October 2012; Accepted 10 December 2012

Academic Editor: Tavan Janvilisri

Copyright © 2013 Ilaria Giusti et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Although the incidence of ovarian cancer is low (i.e., less than 5% in European countries), it is the most lethal gynecologic malignancy and typically has a poor prognosis. To ensure optimal survival, it is important to diagnose this condition when the pathology is confined to the ovary. However, this is difficult to achieve because the first specific symptoms appear only during advanced disease stages. To date, the biomarker mainly used for the diagnosis and prognosis of ovarian cancer is CA125; however, this marker has a low sensitivity and specificity and is associated with several other physiological and pathological conditions. No other serum ovarian cancer markers appear to be able to replace or complement CA125, and the current challenge is therefore to identify novel markers for the early diagnosis of this disease. For this purpose, studies have focused on the microvesicles (MVs) released from tumor cells. MVs may represent an ideal biomarker because they can be easily isolated from blood, and they have particular features (mainly regarding microRNA profiles) that strongly correlate with ovarian cancer stage and may be effective for early diagnosis.