News / Health

Researchers Develop Pap-Smear Test to Detect Gynecologic Cancers

Gynecologists are getting a new way to spot problems when they perform Pap smears to check women for cervical cancer. (file photo)Gynecologists are getting a new way to spot problems when they perform Pap smears to check women for cervical cancer. (file photo)
x
Gynecologists are getting a new way to spot problems when they perform Pap smears to check women for cervical cancer. (file photo)
Gynecologists are getting a new way to spot problems when they perform Pap smears to check women for cervical cancer. (file photo)
Jessica Berman
The Pap smear, long the standard test for cancer of the cervix - the muscular opening of the uterus - is becoming a one-stop check-up for multiple cancers. Researchers have developed a combination Pap test that also screens for two other hard-to-spot and potentially deadly gynecological tumors.

Scientists at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, have developed a test that piggybacks on the widely used Papanicolaou or Pap smear test for cervical cancer, expanding it to also look for the genetic abnormalities associated with ovarian cancer and cancer of the endometrium, the lining of the uterus. In the United States, these two cancers are diagnosed in about 70,000 women every year, and the tumors kill about one third of them.

There currently are no screening tests for the two cancers. But researchers found that abnormal DNA is shed from endometrial and ovarian tumors and can be detected among healthy cells in fluid extracted from the cervix.    

Using genome-wide association studies, the Hopkins researchers identified 12 of the most common mutated genes in both cancers, incorporating a way to recognize them into the routine Pap smear.

Their new PapGene test was used to screen cervical cell samples from 24 women with endometrial cancer, detecting the disease with 100 percent accuracy. However, study co-author Isaac Kinde at Johns Hopkins' Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, said PapGene picked up only nine of 22 ovarian cancers in patients with the disease, a relatively low accuracy rate of just 41 percent.  

Kinde said ovarian cancer may be harder to detect than endometrial cancer because of where the ovaries are located.

“I think the most likely explanation for the result that we got is the fact that a cancer cell has to travel farther away from the ovaries to get to the cervix,” he said.

Kinde said researchers are working to make PapGene more sensitive in the detection of ovarian cancer. He said he would like to see a time when a simple Pap test is routinely used to screen for all three types of gynecologic cancer.

“That’s been the dream from the very beginning. You know that is the goal. From the perspective of the patient and from the gynecologist, nothing changes for them," he said. "It’s a routine Pap smear and it’s essentially just another box to check if you want to look for endometrial and ovarian cancers.”

An article on the development of the PapGene test for cervical, endometrial and ovarian cancer - by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, and the University of Sao Paolo in Brazil - is published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

You May Like

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs