New test for endometrial cancer can be performed at home

Researchers from the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO) and the University of Innsbruck, Austria, designed and tested a new system non-invasive and self-sampling that could advance the diagnosis of endometrial cancer by a year.

The new method consists of a test epigenetic which measures the level of methylation of two specific genes in cervical cytology samples. Methylations are DNA modifications that allow DNA activation or inactivation. genetic expression. Samples can be obtained by taking light scrapings of the cervix in the office or using a small tampon-like device that the patient can use at home.

Depending on the system used to obtain the sample, this new strategy detects between 90 and 100% of endometrial cancer cases.

The results, published in the journal Journal of Clinical Oncology, show that, depending on the system used to obtain the sample, this new strategy detects between 90 % and 100% of endometrial cancer cases.

According to Laura Costasproject leader and principal investigator of IDIBELL and the Catalan Institute of Oncology, it would be feasible to use this method to diagnose endometrial cancer in populations at risk.

Early diagnosis, the key to survival

Endometrial cancer is one of the most frequent among women, affecting more than 400,000 people worldwide each year. Currently, diagnostic methods are very invasive and painful, especially biopsies of the endometrium. The delay in diagnosis requires the use of more aggressive treatments and significantly decreases patient survival.

Endometrial cancer is one of the most common cancers among women, affecting more than 400,000 people worldwide each year.

“This test worked well both on samples taken by the medical team in consultation and on vaginal self-samples taken by the patient at home,” says Costas. “With this new system it is possible to reduce the health pressure and the need for an initial referral to a specialist and, therefore, contribute to a faster diagnosis”, he adds.

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New method of diagnosis by risk groups

To assess in depth the potential of the new methodology, the researchers included in the study cohorts very different types of patients.

strategy can be very beneficial into two risk groups: women post-menopause with gynecological bleeding, the main symptom of endometrial cancer, and women with lynching syndromean inherited genetic condition that predisposes to the development of cancer.

The work showed very encouraging results for the use of the test in the general population, as it made it possible to identify this cancer one year before its diagnosis.

Before implementing the new diagnostic method, the researchers propose to carry out studies of cost benefit and analyze large cohorts of these risk groups.

On the other hand, the work showed very encouraging results on the usefulness of this method in general population −out of risk−, since it also made it possible to identify this cancer one year before its diagnosis. Looking to the future, trials are underway to evaluate similar tests for diagnosing other gynecologic cancers.

Reference:

Herzog and others, A simple cervicovaginal epigenetic test for early detection of endometrial cancer – validation in multiple sets of cohorts and cases/controls. (2022) J. Clinical Oncology

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