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New Test Detects Cervical Cancer Sooner Than Traditional Screening Methods

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 18 Dec 2023

Cervical cancer ranks as the fourth most prevalent cancer among women globally. When detected in its initial stage, cervical cancer has a survival rate of approximately 93%. However, this rate drops drastically to about 15% in its most advanced stages. Despite advancements in diagnostic techniques like cytological screening, HPV testing, and liquid biopsy contributing to a decline in cervical cancer cases, there remain instances where the disease goes undetected. This issue persists even in countries with sophisticated cervical screening programs. HPV screening and evidence of low-grade premalignant changes in cytology are insufficient to indicate malignant transformation, highlighting the need for more reliable markers to detect early stages of malignancy. One of the primary challenges is that in early cervical cancer, only a minimal number of malignant cells may be present, and the disease often progresses significantly before clinical symptoms are clearly evident.

In response to this, HKG Epitherapeutics (Hong Kong) has introduced epiCervix, an innovative test aimed at enhancing the early detection of cervical cancer. This test employs DNA methylation analysis, a technique that could potentially offer more effective risk stratification in cervical screenings. The company's comprehensive epigenomic approach has led to the discovery of novel methylation markers capable of identifying cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) and early-stage cervical cancer. The company has shortlisted a biogenic marker set with a notable correlation between their methylation levels and the progression of the disease. The epiCervix test represents a more advanced early warning system compared to current screening methods. Its heightened sensitivity allows for the detection of cancerous DNA even in cells that might appear noncancerous, enabling healthcare professionals to identify patients who may require further diagnostic testing.

Image: The epiCervix test utilizes DNA methylation analysis which may improve risk stratification in cervical screening (Photo courtesy of 123RF)
Image: The epiCervix test utilizes DNA methylation analysis which may improve risk stratification in cervical screening (Photo courtesy of 123RF)

New findings reveal that epiCervix can detect cervical cancer earlier than traditional screening methods by focusing on alterations in four specific genes. Emerging research suggests that epigenetic changes, particularly in the cells lining the cervix, are linked with abnormal cellular alterations and could be crucial in assessing the risk of cervical cancer. The new study explored several epigenetic markers (CA10, DPP10, FMN2, and HAS1), identified using a genome-wide methylation approach. The study results highlighted epiCervix's ability to identify patients with premalignant and malignant cells, indicating its potential as a vital tool in early cervical cancer detection.

Related Links:
HKG Epitherapeutics 

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