Epithelial ovarian cancer and the use of circulating tumor DNA: A systematic review

Christine Fribert Thusgaard*, Malene Korsholm, Kristina Magaard Koldby, Torben A. Kruse, Mads Thomassen, Kirsten Marie Jochumsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Objective: One way to improve the survival rate of epithelial Ovarian Cancer (EOC) is by identifying effective biomarkers useful at different stages and time points of the disease. A potential biomarker is circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in plasma or serum. In this systematic review, we provide an overview of applications of ctDNA in EOC to discuss the direction of future research in this field. Methods: We performed a systematic search in Pubmed, Embase, and Scopus to identify relevant clinical studies eligible for inclusion. Furthermore, the references in the identified studies and relevant reviews were assessed to identify additional studies. The PRISMA guideline was employed to perform the systematic review, and data from the studies were extracted using piloted data extraction forms. Results: A total of 36 observational studies were included. The concordance between tumor and ctDNA was assessed in 19 studies, early diagnosis in 1, diagnosis in 23, monitoring of treatment response in 7, detection of reversion mutations in 3, prognosis in 9, but no studies assessed early detection of recurrence. Data from the studies were reported descriptively. The studies had a large variation in the methods used for ctDNA analysis and limited sample sizes of 10–126 patients. Overall, the studies show that ctDNA is a potential biomarker for EOC useful in several settings during assessment and treatment of these patients. Conclusions: Although the identified studies are limited in number and their methods for ctDNA analysis vary, it is clear that ctDNA as a biomarker for EOC is promising for several applications in diagnostics, monitoring of treatment response, and prognostics. However, more studies are needed to establish the ideal methods and settings for the clinical use of ctDNA in EOC.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGynecologic Oncology
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)884-895
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Biomarker
  • Circulating tumor DNA
  • Epithelial ovarian cancer


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