A breakthrough uterine cancer test could reduce the time it takes to diagnose women with the condition and reduce the need for more invasive diagnostic procedures.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that inexpensive PCR tests, which use samples taken from the cervix or vagina, were successful in detecting uterine cancer.
Currently in the UK women presenting with common uterine symptoms Cancer – such as B. abnormal vaginal bleeding – a transvaginal ultrasound is offered.
If medical professionals are concerned about the thickness of a woman’s uterine lining, they may need to have invasive tests like hysteroscopies or biopsies, which some have described as painful.
Researchers and activists hope the new test will reduce the need for more invasive diagnostic procedures.
Professor Martin Widschwendter, from the European Translational Oncology Prevention and Screening Institute at the University of Innsbruck and UCL’s Department of Women’s Cancer in the UK, said: “For us, it was crucial that this research addressed all the problems associated with current cervical cancer detection methods.
“Most importantly, by using our test, far fewer women with abnormal bleeding will have to undergo invasive diagnostic procedures.”
Athena Lamnisos, Executive Director of the charity The Eve Appeal, said: “This research shows promise in reducing the time to diagnosis, providing a specific diagnosis for everyone and reducing the need for painful and invasive procedures.
“It really brings early detection of cancer one step closer.”
Initial results show that the test was equally effective for all groups – regardless of age, ethnicity, pre- or post-menopause and stage, grade and type of cancer.
The researchers used 1,288 cervical screening samples from women with and without cervical cancer collected by a large team of researchers in the UK and Europe.
The test successfully identified all eight uterine cancers within a cohort of 63 women with postmenopausal bleeding, and few women without cancer tested positive, making the test more specific than transvaginal ultrasound, which had a specificity of 89%.
The new test was developed by Prof. Widschwendter and his team at the University of Innsbruck and UCL and funded by the EU programs Horizon 2020 and European Research Council, The Eve Appeal and the state government of the Tyrol region in Austria.