Open Access Research

Investigating the clinical potential for 14-3-3 zeta protein to serve as a biomarker for epithelial ovarian cancer

Ioannis Hatzipetros1*, Peter Gocze2, Tamas Koszegi3, Akos Jaray4, Laszlo Szereday5, Beata Polgar4, Nelli Farkas5 and Balint Farkas1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Pecs, Clinical Center, Edesanyak Str. 17, 7624 Pecs, Hungary

2 Institute of Laboratory Medicine, University of Pecs, Hungary

3 Department of Radiology, University of Pecs, Hungary

4 Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Pecs, Hungary

5 Institute of Bioanalysis, University of Pecs, Hungary

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Journal of Ovarian Research 2013, 6:79  doi:10.1186/1757-2215-6-79

Published: 15 November 2013



Recently, 14-3-3 zeta protein was identified as a potential serum biomarker of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). The goal of this study was to investigate the clinical potential of 14-3-3 zeta protein for monitoring EOC progression compared with CA-125 and HE4.


Prospective follow-up study.


University of Pecs Medical Center Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology/Oncology (Pecs, Hungary).


Thirteen EOC patients with advanced stage (FIGO IIb-IIIc) epithelial ovarian cancer that underwent radical surgery and received six consecutive cycles of first line chemotherapy (paclitaxel, carboplatin) in 21-day intervals.


Pre- and post-chemotherapy computed tomography (CT) scans were performed. Serum levels of CA-125, HE4, and 14-3-3 zeta protein were detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and quantitative electrochemiluminescence assay (ECLIA).

Main outcome measures

Serum levels of CA-125, HE4, and 14-3-3 zeta protein, as well as lesion size according to pre- and post-chemotherapy CT scans.


Serum levels of CA-125 and HE4 were found to significantly decrease following chemotherapy, and this was consistent with the decrease in lesion size detected post-chemotherapy. In contrast, 14-3-3 zeta protein levels did not significantly differ in healthy postmenopausal patients versus EOC patients.


Determination of CA-125 and HE4 serum levels for the determination of the risk of ovarian malignancy algorithm (ROMA) represents a useful tool for the prediction of chemotherapy efficacy for EOC patients. However, levels of 14-3-3 zeta protein were not found to vary significantly as a consequence of treatment. Therefore we question if 14-3-3 zeta protein is a reliable biomarker, which correlates with the clinical behavior of EOC.

Epithelial ovarian cancer; 14-3-3 Zeta protein; CA-125; HE-4; Chemotherapy; ROMA