Medical Field: Gynecology
Award: Finalist
Country: Slovenia
Year: 2021
Research Work: High preoperative serum sVCAM-1 concentration as a predictor of early ovarian cancer recurrence
Published in: Journal of Ovarian Research


In a small institution like ours, research never stops.


Gynaecologist Professor Borut Kobal, MD, PhD, works as medical director in the Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics at the University Medical Centre Ljubljana in Slovenia. He was surprised, but also honoured, to have his research recognised and to be a finalist in this year's International Medis Awards in the field of Gynaecology. 

Prof. Borut Kobal, MD, PhD, focuses on metabolic and proteomic research in ovarian cancer, which is why his applied research focuses on Epithelial Ovarian cancer. He and his team from the Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, UMC Ljubljana, and the Institute of Pharmacology and Experimental Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine Ljubljana, wanted to predict the risk of recurrence to provide patients with a better quality of life and clinicians with a better approach to ovarian cancer treatment.

Epithelial Ovarian cancer (EOC) is the deadliest gynaecological cancer and more than 70% of all cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage. It has been shown that not only complete cytoreductive surgery, but also tumour sensitivity to chemotherapy is critical to recurrence. Even if approximately 80% of women respond to treatment, relapse often occurs even though complete clinical remission is achieved. Most patients relapse within 24 months of treatment, which unfortunately has remained unchanged in recent decades despite developments in chemo-pharmaceuticals. Predicting the risk of relapse will allow patients to have a better quality of life and clinicians to take a better approach to treating ovarian cancer.

This is the first study to show that higher serum sVCAM-1 levels in ovarian cancer patients are associated with early tumour recurrence or disease progression. Serum sVCAM-1 may be a potential tumour marker for ovarian cancer follow-up.