• Over 65,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with endometrial cancer every year
  • When identified at an early stage, endometrial cancer can be prevented and fertility can be spared
  • A new testing method to detect the condition at an early stage appears promising

Currently, endometrial cancer is the sixth most common cancer affecting women and is on the rise worldwide. Over 65,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with endometrial cancer every year.

The diagnostic approaches and screening of endometrial cancer available today are both invasive and expensive in nature or of moderate accuracy, which could limit their clinical utility. But a novel non-invasive test can now be used to detect endometrial cancer patients and those at risk at a very early stage, confirmed a recent study.

This could be the next step forward in offering an inexpensive tool to diagnose women with endometrial cancer and its common precursor — atypical hyperplasia.

When used in clinical settings, this new test could yield results instantaneously for those who might be at risk of developing or presenting early signs of endometrial cancer.

The researchers at the University of Central Lancashire, England, collaborated with experts at the University of Manchester, the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte and the clinicians from the National Health Service Trusts across Manchester, Lancashire, and London to carry out this research.

“A simple blood test could enable the early detection of endometrial cancer of all stages in symptomatic women and provide the basis of a screening tool in high-risk groups. Such a test has the potential not only to differentially diagnose endometrial cancer but also to detect its precursor lesion atypical hyperplasia—the early recognition of which may allow fertility-sparing management and cancer prevention,” said the researchers in their paper published in Cancers.

The study

The research team used blood spectroscopy, a technique that uses light to determine the molecular makeup of a sample, and analyzed the blood plasma samples collected from 652 women.

They were able to generate a characteristic biological "fingerprint" which was indicative of specific proteins, lipids, and other biomolecules that helped determine whether or not a woman exhibited signs of endometrial cancer or its precursor — atypical hyperplasia.

Key Findings:

  • This novel blood-based infrared spectroscopy test could detect endometrial cancer with 83% accuracy
  • The accuracy was highest for type I endometrial cancer — the most common subtype
  • The test had an accuracy of 90% in diagnosing atypical hyperplasia — a precancerous condition that affects a woman’s endometrial tissue which often leads to cancer
  • In clinical use, the test could help alleviate the pressure on secondary care
  • It can also ensure only those at significant risk of endometrial cancer are identified and referred for further, invasive diagnostic testing methods

"Despite the rising incidence of endometrial cancer throughout the world, there have been few advances made in improving the diagnosis and prognosis of this disease. Our research signals an important step forward for patients, clinicians, and the research community, and has the potential to be developed into a simple, low-cost and instantaneous test for endometrial cancer in the future," Dr. Maria Paraskevaidi, lead investigator of the study and research associate at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and Imperial College London told MedicalXpress.

Cancer Cells
Cancer cells survive because of a protein Pixabay