Posted on Dec 28, 2018, 11 p.m.
A new test has been shown to be 100% effective at detecting cervical in a trial involving over 15,000 participants that was developed by researchers at the Queen Mary University of London, as published in the International Journal of Cancer.
The new epigenetics based test was demonstrated to outperform Pap smear and human papilloma virus tests as well as being more cost effective, predicting development of cervical cancer up to five years in advance compared to HPV and Pap smear testing.
According to Dr. Attila Lorincz epigenetics rather than DNA mutations are suggested by growing bodies of evidence to drive a wide range of early cancers such as colon, prostate, oropharyngeal, and cervical cancers. Pleased at how well their test was able to detect cervical cancer, this was the first time the key role of epigenetics was proven in the development of major solid cancer using data from patients in the clinic.
Pap smear testing is the most common screening method for prevention of cervical cancer, yet it is only able to detect 50% of pre-cancers. Testing looking for DNA from HPV is far more accurate, however this test only identifies whether women are infected with HPV and not the actual cancer risk; another issue with this test is majority of women with HPV eventually clear the virus not going on to develop disease.
This new epigenetics based test outperformed HPV and Pap smear testing, detecting 100% of the invasive cervical cancers that developed during the trial including adenocarcinomas; Pap smear testing detected one quarter of the cancers, and HPV testing detected half of the cancers.
Based on their findings the epigenetics based test is able to detect high grade cervical cancer in early stages, the researchers concluded implementation in a clinic would reduce the number of visits to the doctor and screening appointments needed, while providing a more cost effective way of detecting the disease.
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