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Ovarian cancer is very treatable in the early stages of disease; however, it is usually detected in the later stages, at which time, treatment is no longer as effective. If discovered early (Stage I), there is a 90% chance of five-year survival. Therefore, it is imperative that early-stage biomarkers are identified to enhance the early detection of ovarian cancer. Cancer-testis antigens (CTAs), such as Per ARNT SIM (PAS) domain containing 1 (PASD1), are unique in that their expression is restricted to immunologically restricted sites, such as the testis and placenta, which do not express MHC class I, and cancer, making them ideally positioned to act as targets for immunotherapy as well as potential biomarkers for cancer detection where expressed. We examined the expression of PASD1a and b in a number of cell lines, as well as eight healthy ovary samples, eight normal adjacent ovarian tissues, and 191 ovarian cancer tissues, which were predominantly stage I (n = 164) and stage II (n = 14) disease. We found that despite the positive staining of skin cancer, only one stage Ic ovarian cancer patient tissue expressed PASD1a and b at detectable levels. This may reflect the predominantly stage I ovarian cancer samples examined. To examine the restriction of PASD1 expression, we examined endometrial tissue arrays and found no expression in 30 malignant tumor tissues, 23 cases of hyperplasia, or 16 normal endometrial tissues. Our study suggests that the search for a single cancer-testes antigen/biomarker that can detect early ovarian cancer must continue.
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