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Cervical cancer diagnosis made easier, DNA test proved as effective as Pap smear

Cervical cancer is a major issue in low- and middle-income countries.

Last Updated: May 04, 2019, 06.29 PM IST|Original: May 04, 2019, 06.29 PM IST
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WASHINGTON DC: DNA test is an effective method of Cervical cancer screening for women in low-and-middle-income countries, shows new research.

The study was published in ASCO's Journal of Global Oncology.

Cervical cancer is a major issue in low- and middle-income countries due to the lack of adequate screening such as routine Pap smear testing.

These countries have high incidences of cervical cancer linked to human papillomavirus (HPV). Due to the lack of resources for cancer screenings, these countries account for 85 per cent of all cervical cancer cases.

The team found that of 1,732 women screened, 28 per cent were positive for a high-risk HPV type and of those, 26 per cent had more than one HPV infection.

Results also showed that the most common HPV genotypes detected during testing were different than those commonly found in the United States.

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"We have shown that cervical cancer screening can be implemented in low-resource settings using this method and that women are very interested and engaged in testing and follow-up clinic visits when necessary," said Tsongalis.

"This study also identified something we were not expecting and that is a very significant difference in the types of high-risk HPV that we were detecting," Tsongalis added.

Such findings could mean profound implications for vaccination programmes. "The causes of cervical cancer, while viral in nature, are not always the same type of virus and that could impact aggressiveness of disease, vaccinations and therapies," said Tsongalis.

The team would like to use their findings to guide studies of actual cervical cancer tissue and also to formulate therapeutic vaccine trials.

"Being able to screen individuals who have never been tested before and studying the impact of the testing on their healthcare as well as our understanding of the biology of the disease is most exciting," said Tsongalis.

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