Friday, October 21, 2022

New cervical cancer screening test can predict cell changes well in advance

The new test is part of a research program aimed at predicting the risk of developing four types of cancer from a single cell sample from the cervix.
Credit: Mart Production

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet, among others, have developed a screening test for cervical cancer that can predict cell changes several years before they are visible under the microscope. The test is also better at identifying high-grade cell changes in gynecological cell samples than today's methods. It shows a study published in the journal Genome Medicine.

The method has the potential to improve today's screening program and enable a previous intervention to prevent cancer, says Karin Sundström, doctor at Karolinska University Hospital and senior researcher at Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institutet.

The test was developed by an international research team from Karolinska Institutet, Innsbruck University in Austria and University College London (UCL) in the United Kingdom. It is part of a research program aimed at predicting the risk of developing four types of cancer (breast, ovarian, uterine and cervical cancer) from a single cell sample from the cervix. Previous studies have shown that the test may detect the risk of breast and ovarian cancer by analyzing a regular cell sample from the cervix.

The research team now plans to test the new method for screening samples from women who have been vaccinated against HPV and therefore have a significantly lower risk of cervical cancer.

Hope to discover more

Our hope is to be able to detect more people who are at risk of developing cervical cancer, but also that future screening will be able to predict the risk of other cancers affecting women as well, says Joakim Dillner, Professor of Infection Epidemiology at the Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, and R&D Director at Medical Diagnostics Karolinska, Karolinska University Hospital.

The study has been led by a professor Martin Widschwendter at Innsbruck University and UCL, who is also a visiting professor at Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institutet. The research has been partially funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program, the charity The Eve Appeal and the European Research Council (ERC). Several of the co-authors are inventors of a patent relating to the WID-CIN test and some are shareholders in Sola Diagnostics GmbH which have the exclusive license to commercialize the test.

Source/Credit: Karolinska Institutet