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News

08Feb 2017

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Thesis defense Anna Stiekema

Anna Stiekema

Anna Stiekema's PhD research focused on a potential new biomarker for different clinical applications of ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer. She will defend her thesis on Thursday, February 9.

Stiekema's thesis is divided into three parts. In the first part, she describes a number of studies that focused on the potential of the protein HE4 (human epididymis protein 4) as a biomarker for ovarian cancer. A survey performed by Stiekema herself showed that only about a third of the gynecologists believe current biomarkers and other diagnostic tools suffice for early detection and pre-operative diagnosis of ovarian tumors. This means there is a need for better biomarkers. Stiekema performed a number of retrospective studies, which show that the serum concentration of HE4 has the same sensitivity but often a better specificity than these current biomarkers. This is mainly important for the differentiation between a benign and malignant ovarian mass. This means that HE4 might indeed be a valuable biomarker. Stiekema also showed that the HE4 concentration in urine seems to be just as reliable as the HE4 concentration in serum. This result still needs to be validated in a larger patient cohort.

In the second part of her thesis Stiekema shows that HE4 can also be used to distinguish primary ovarian tumors from tumors in the ovaries that are actually metastases from another type of tumor. Finally, in the third part, she shows that the serum concentration of HE4 can also be used as a biomarker for the rate of aggressiveness of endometrial tumors.

Details of the defense:

The public defense will take place on February 9 at 10:00 in the Agnietenkapel of the University of Amsterdam, Oudezijds Voorburgwal 229-231, Amsterdam. The title of Stiekema's thesis is HE4 Clinical Applications in Gynaecological Cancer. Her promotor is Gemma Kenter; the co-promotors are Christianne Lok and Tiny Korse.

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