A BLOOD test capable of detecting womb cancer early is to go into clinical trial in Lancashire.
Consultants at Rosemere Cancer Centre, the region’s specialist cancer treatment centre at the Royal Preston Hospital, have helped to establish the test as an advancement in improving the diagnosis of womb cancer.
Symptoms of womb cancer, which is the sixth most common cancer in women, can include post-menopausal bleeding.
Currently, testing for the disease is usually done in the first instance by transvaginal ultrasound to measure the thickness of the womb’s lining.
It is an expensive and limited procedure due to there not being enough medical staff to do it.
The majority of women with womb cancer are diagnosed with the stage one disease but 30% have more advanced cancer.
The simplicity and accuracy of the new blood plasma test offers the possibility of using it as a screening tool in those at risk of the disease, as well as a less invasive and less expensive means of diagnosing those women with womb cancer.
It was detailed in May’s edition of medical journal Cancers, where an article outlines a three-year study of the test, which ended last year and was led by Dr Maria Paraskevaidi, a research associate at the University of Central Lancashire and Imperial College London.
Dr Paraskevaidi received a Rosemere Cancer Foundation grant of £72,000 to work with at the centre and completed a 12-year project.
She tested the blood plasma of 652 women attending the Preston centre, which treats patients from across the county, alongside others from NHS trusts in Manchester and London.
She also collaborated with colleagues at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil.
Dr Paraskevaidi said: “Despite the rising incidence of womb cancer throughout the world, there have been few advances made in improving 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.”
Professor Pierre Martin-Hirsch, Rosemere consultant in gynaecological cancer surgery and research director at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “This is a potential game-changer in the early recognition of endometrial womb cancer.”
Now Prof Martin-Hirsch and his Rosemere team are to take the test into clinical trial as an initial step to establishing it as a first-line NHS diagnostic tool.