Ovarian cancer is the most common cause of death from gynecologic malignancy in the US, resulting in 13,850 deaths in 2010. Most women have advanced disease at diagnosis. Despite aggressive treatment, prognosis for these women is poor: 5-year survival is less than 30%. This poor outcome is due to the lack of effective prevention and early detection strategies: when diagnosed at an early stage, the survival rate is 85-90%. Thus, prevention and early detection are key to overcoming this disease. However, few preventive modalities exist and current screening techniques have failed to reduce morbidity or mortality. Thus, we urgently need to identify better prevention, detection and screening methods. Moreover, because of the virulent and usually fatal nature of the disease, most women with ovarian cancer live with fear of recurrence, which happens in ~85% of cases. Current treatments offer little hope, and research into preventing recurrence is limited. New methods to prevent, detect and treat recurrence are urgently needed. With NCI funding in 2002 &2005, we hosted symposia on ovarian cancer, bringing together the world's experts on prevention of the disease and its recurrence from various scientific disciplines. The success and enthusiasm generated by those meetings underscore the need for periodic meetings focused on ovarian cancer. No other meetings of this type exist. We propose to organize biennial symposia to facilitate interactions among scientists from different disciplines, policy makers and consumer advocates so that progress can be made in overcoming this disease.
The Specific Aim of the symposia series is to expand our understanding of and research in the underlying mechanisms in ovarian cancer, with a focus on applying that knowledge to prevention and early detection of the diseases and its recurrence. The NCI has made molecular and biologic mechanisms, high-throughput technologies, genetics, and targeted therapies key goals in FY2011, with ovarian cancer a focus area. Recent scientific and technological advances, together with the lack of periodic scientific meetings specifically on ovarian cancer, support the need for a series of symposia on innovative approaches to research in ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer is the leading killer among gynecologic cancers in women. Little progress has been made in overcoming this disease. There is no periodic scientific meeting focused on ovarian cancer research. A small, well-focused meeting to facilitate cross-talk among ovarian cancer experts from various disciplines who do not typically or consistently interact is a key step in making progress in overcoming this killer.