At the Institut Pasteur, a research team has developed a new test capable of detecting human papillomavirus infection and predicting the risk of cancer.
Improving cancer screening makes it easier for them to manage and reduce their mortality rate. At the Institut Pasteur, researchers are working on a new screening test for cancer of the cervix. They present the characteristics in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics.
Researchers from the Institut Pasteur describe a new diagnostic approach to cervical #cancer, able to determine the #HPV type and identify precancerous markers. @ElsevierNews //t.co/r658E5IaF9- Institut Pasteur (@institutpasteur) August 13, 2019
Pap smear or HPV test?
The smear is the most common test for cervical cancer. Its purpose is to determine the presence or absence of abnormal cells that could eventually become cancerous lesions. It detects only 70% of pre-cancerous lesions and in some cases the test may give false positive results. Each positive smear is followed by a biopsy to confirm or invalidate the results. The HPV test can also be performed to detect human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.
The latter is the cause of 90% of cervical cancers. The major disadvantage of this review is that there is a risk of over-diagnosis, as women under the age of 30 often carry the virus.
A double test
In this new research, French scientists have chosen a double test: it can determine the type of HPV and identify precancerous markers. "This unique test combines the benefits of molecular assays (HPV typing) with those of cervical cytology (cell phenotyping)," says Marc Eloit, lead author of the research. A trial was conducted in 55 patients, 28 had safe lesions and 27 had pre-cancerous lesions.
In comparison to the "classical" HPV test, the examination allowed to detect two patients infected with HPV in addition. The test is able to detect the presence of HPV in 97.3% of cases. According to the researcher, the number of positive cases that prove to be negative, and conversely, is less important with this method. Further tests are needed before the development of the test and its accessibility for the general public.
Every year, around 1,000 women die from cervical cancer in France.