Skip to Content

Assessment of Screening Modalities for Gynecologic Cancers

Currently, there are no convincing early detection approaches for endometrial and ovarian cancers. Although it is well established that some endometrial and ovarian tumors shed cytologically recognizable cells in routinely prepared Pap tests, it is clear that this approach rarely detects occult tumors. Accordingly, efforts to develop means of collecting biological samples that have high patient acceptability, good sensitivity for detecting early disease, and excellent specificity are needed. In this project, investigators in DCEG want to assess the feasibility of using alternative sampling techniques in combination with molecular assays to detect endometrial and ovarian cancers. They will compare sampling using a Tampon and a sheathed endometrial brush, the Tao brush, and will assess the quality of DNA extracted from the different samplers. Investigators will assess the correlations between methylation of somatic DNA for a selected marker panel and cancer status. They will include 117 women age 45 years and older with suspected endometrial cancer or ovarian cancer, and 53 age-matched controls without malignancy, all of whom are referred to surgery at the Mayo clinic. 

Investigators plan to conduct a pilot study of women with confirmed or suspected endometrial cancer or ovarian cancer, and women treated for benign conditions. DNA will be extracted from samples collected using a vaginal Tampon and an endometrial brushing using an FDA approved device (Tao brush) prior to surgery. A panel of methylation markers will be analyzed from samples yielding sufficient DNA. The results of the methylation analysis will be compared to the final histology for all patients in the study. Investigators will set the detection of methylation at one or more loci in 50% of women in each arm as a technical success.

For more information, contact Nicolas Wentzensen

Hormonal and Reproductive Epidemiology Branch - Research Areas