A New Test
Scientists are working on a ground-breaking test to spot or predict a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer or three other gynaecological cancers (ovarian, cervical and uterine cancer) from one sample taken from a routine cervical smear test. Two papers published in the journal “Nature Communications” reported on two studies that found that this test, known as the WID or women’s cancer risk identification test, is more accurate than current genetic tests and may help scientists to spot these cancers at an early stage or predict the likelihood that they may develop.
The WID test looks for specific markers on the DNA of cervical cells that are linked to the development of cancer. In one of the studies, researchers analysed changes in cervical cell samples and were able to identify women with breast cancer on the basis of a unique epigenetic signature. Further research is needed to refine the use of this test as a screening tool for the earlier detection of these four gynaecological cancers.