While Pap smears and the human papillomavirus (HPV) tests have been fairly effective in detecting cervical cancer, a cervical cancer test based on epigenetics is basically fool-proof — and more affordable.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Cancer, a epigenetics-based cervical cancer test detected 100 percent of cervical cancers in 15,744 women during a randomized clinical trial. Epigenetics is the study of mechanisms that can turn genes on and off.
The Pap test, on the other hand, detected only 25 percent of the cancers, and the HPV test detected 50 percent.
Additionally, the epigenetic test was able to detect 93 percent of precancerous lesions in a subset of 257 HPV-positive women, compared with 83 percent detected with a combination of the HPV test and Pap test, and 61 percent detected with the Pap test alone.
This is the first time epigenetics have been proven to play a key role in the development of cancer, the lead researcher stated in a press release. The researchers hope this test will revolutionize screening for HPV-related cancers and cut down on the screening cost associated with Pap tests.
Sourced from: International Journal of Cancer