Researchers examine role of fluid flow in ovarian cancer progression

IMAGE: After multiple rounds of fluid shear stress exposure, human cells in the study began to form tumor-like structures known as spheroids (pictured). Spheroids are indicative of aggressive disease traits. view more 

Credit: Virginia Tech

New research from Virginia Tech is moving physicians closer to pinpointing a predictor of ovarian cancer, which could lead to earlier diagnosis of what is know as the “silent killer.”

Ovarian cancer spreads throughout the body undetected and so has almost always progressed to an advanced stage before patients receive a diagnosis. Symptoms are often vague, and doctors currently have no reliable diagnostic test for ovarian cancer at their disposal.

If scientists could identify what triggers healthy ovarian cells to turn malignant, they’d at least be able to pinpoint a predictor of the disease. Such a predictor might lead to an earlier diagnosis, which could lead to more effective treatment and save the lives of thousands of women each year.

Published in PLOS ONE, a Virginia Tech study found that cancerous cells in the abdominal cavity exposed to fluid shear stress – the force effect of the body’s fluid moving along and around organs – caused those cells to become more aggressive.

Additionally, the


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