Nectin-4 as Blood-Based Biomarker Enables Detection of Early Ovarian Cancer Stages


Christoph Rogmans, Julia Feuerborn, Leonie Treeck, Nils Tribian, Inken Flörkemeier, Norbert Arnold, Jörg Weimer, Nicolai Maass, Peer Jansen, Wolfgang Lieb, Astrid Dempfle, Dirk Bauerschlag, Nina Hedemann








Ovarian cancer is the third most common gynecological malignancy and has the highest mortality rate. Owing to unspecific symptoms, ovarian cancer is not detected until an advanced stage in about two-thirds of cases. Therefore, it is crucial to establish reliable biomarkers for the early stages to improve the patients’ prognosis. The aim of this study is to investigate whether the ADAM17 substrates Nectin-4, Heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor (HB-EGF) and Amphiregulin (AREG) could function as potential tumor markers for ovarian cancer. In this study a set of 231 sera consisting of 131 ovarian cancer patients and 100 healthy age-matched controls were assembled. Nectin-4, HB-EGF and AREG levels of preoperatively collected sera were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Our analysis revealed that Nectin-4 and HB-EGF were significantly increased compared to the age-matched control group (p < 0.0001, p = 0.016). Strikingly, significantly higher Nectin-4 and HB-EGF levels were detected in early-stage FIGO I/II (p <0.001; p = 0.025) compared to healthy controls. Eighty-four percent (16/19) of patients with low Ca-125 levels showed increased Nectin-4 levels. Our study proposes Nectin-4 and HB-EGF as promising blood-based biomarkers for the detection of early stages of ovarian cancer patients that would not have been detected by Ca-125.