Sources:  Johns Hopkins Medicine (2013, January 9). ScienceDaily (2013, February 12).

PapRESEARCHERS at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have developed a test to detect ovarian and endometrial cancers using cervical fluid obtained in routine Pap tests. The Papanicolaou (Pap) tes is a minimally invasive screening test routinely performed during annual gynecologic visits.  Cells collected from the cervix are examined for microscopic signs of cancer, is widely and successfully used to screen for cervical cancers. There is currently no routine screening method available for ovarian or endometrial cancers.   Ovarian and endometrial cancers are newly diagnosed in nearly 70,000 women in the United States each year, and 1/3 of them will die from it.

Since the Pap test occasionally contains cells shed from the ovaries or endometrium, cancer cells arising from these organs could also be present in the fluid as well, says Luis Diaz, M.D., associate professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins. “Our genomic sequencing approach may offer the potential to detect these cancer cells in a scalable and cost-effective way,” adds Diaz.

Cervical fluid of patients with gynecologic cancer carries normal cellular DNA mixed together with DNA from cancer cells, according to the investigators. The investigators needed a was to use genomic sequencing to distinguish cancerous from normal DNA.  From the ovarian and endometrial cancer genome data, the Johns Hopkins-led team identified 12 of the most frequently mutated genes in both cancers and developed the PapGene test with this insight in mind.

The new test detected both early- and late-stage disease in the endometrial and ovarian cancers tested.  “Performing the test at different times during the menstrual cycle, inserting the cervical brush deeper into the cervical canal, and assessing more regions of the genome may boost the sensitivity,” says Chetan Bettegowda, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins.  The “PapGene” test, relies on genomic sequencing of cancer-specific mutations, is reported to hae accurately detected all 24 (100%) endometrial cancers and nine of 22 (41%) of ovarian cancers.  While large-scale studies are clearly required, the initial results are promising for pioneering genomic-based cancer screening tests.

The Lewis Law Firm has a long history of representing women with Ovarian, Cervical, Endometrial and breast cance in Philadelphia and New Jersey.  If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with breast cancer which was misdiagnosed or diagnosed late, contact the Lewis Law Firm  for a FREE consultation and review of your case, today.