Genetic analysis added to procedure offers way to reveal malignancies
A multipurpose version of a Pap smear can detect genetic signs of ovarian or uterine cancer in women, researchers report. When applied to the cervical swabs, the experimental analysis spotted genetic mutations in every sample from uterine cancer patients and in many from those with ovarian cancer.
The test is far from clinic-ready. But if confirmed in larger studies and developed into a usable “Papgene” test, as the study authors propose, the new approach could change cancer testing in women. The study appears in the Jan. 9 Science Translational Medicine.
Although the genetic screen caught uterine cancers more consistently, it is more apt to have a major impact on diagnosing ovarian cancer, says Shannon Westin, a gynecologic oncologist at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston who wasn’t part of the study team. While uterine cancers are often found due to vaginal bleeding and diagnosed with ultrasound tests, ovarian