New, Non-Invasive Blood Test Could Assist in Early Detection of Endometrial Cancer

May 26, 2020

Researchers from a study published in Cancers discovered a new method of detecting endometrial cancer in women via a simple, non-invasive blood test.

A new, simple non-invasive blood test could be used to assist in the early detection of endometrial cancer of all stages and at-risk patients for the disease, according to a study published in Cancers.1-2

The test showed the ability to provide almost immediate results in a clinical setting to women who are at increased risk of developing or presenting signs of endometrial cancer. In addition to differentially diagnosing endometrial cancer, the test could detect the precursor lesion atypical hyperplasia.

“This research is an exciting development in diagnosing endometrial cancer,” Emma Crosbie, an author of the study, said in a press release.“Current diagnostic tests rely upon intimate and expensive, labor intensive techniques with moderate accuracy that are unpleasant for women, so we’re excited about the prospect of this test being used to improve early diagnosis and fast track women for treatment.”

The results found that blood-based infrared spectroscopy could potentially detect endometrial cancer with 87% sensitivity and 78% specificity. More, the accuracy was highest in type I endometrial cancer, the most common subtype, and for atypical hyperplasia. The accuracy for both was sensitivities of 91% and 100%, and specificities of 81% and 88%, respectively.

The researchers analyzed blood plasma samples in 652 women via blood spectroscopy. This technique generated a characteristic biological “fingerprint” that confirmed whether or not the patient presented signs of endometrial cancer or atypical hyperplasia. The cohort was divided into groups including women with endometrial cancer (n = 342), its precursor lesion atypical hyperplasia (n = 68) and healthy controls (n = 242).

 “Despite the rising incidence of endometrial cancer throughout the world, there have been few advances made in improving diagnosis and prognosis of this disease,” lead investigator of the study, Dr. Maria Paraskevaidi, said in a press release. “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.”

Endometrial cancer is the sixth most common cancer in women, with current approaches to diagnosis and screening for this disease currently expensive, invasive or only partly accurate.

This blood test, when applied to a clinical setting, could also alleviate pressure on secondary care, ensuring only those at significant risk are identified and referred for further invasive diagnostic testing.

“This is a potential game changer in the early recognition of endometrial cancer,” author of the study Dr. Pierre Martin-Hirsch, said in a press release. “I am proud of the achievements of this collaborative team.”

References:

1. Paraskevaidi M, Morais CLM, Ashton KM, et al. Detecting Endometrial Cancer by Blood Spectroscopy: A Diagnostic Cross-Sectional Study. Cancers.https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12051256.

2. Researchers discover new method of detecting endometrial cancer [news release]. The University of Manchester. Published May 19, 2020. https://www.manchester.ac.uk/discover/news/researchers-discover-new-method-of-detecting-endometrial-cancer/. Accessed May 22, 2020.