Nav: Home

Highly effective cervical cancer screening for low-income countries

March 01, 2017

Taking a small sample of cells from women at high-risk of cervical cancer could be a cost-effective and accurate strategy for early diagnosis in low and middle income countries (LMICs), according to research led by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), funded by Cancer Research UK and published in the Journal of Global Oncology.

Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women in developing countries, and globally some quarter of a million women die from the disease each year - most of them from LMICs.

To reduce the incidence of cervical cancer in developed countries, nationwide screening is offered to all women. Taking a small cluster of cells ('cytology') to diagnose disease before it progresses to cancer has been extremely effective. But in less developed countries, a lack of infrastructure and quality management have hampered widespread implementation of effective screening programmes.

In the first study to evaluate the use of cytology to diagnose cervical cancer in LMICs, the researchers looked at cytology results from 717 cervical cancers from 23 studies in countries including India, Bangladesh, China, Thailand, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Peru, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Brazil, Argentina and Egypt. They argued that cytology in these countries might be used to diagnose cervical cancer earlier.

The researchers found that even in these low-resource settings, cytology was very sensitive and consistent for detecting invasive cancer. Cytology was found to successfully find cancer with 95.9 per cent accuracy in high-risk women showing symptoms.

Corresponding author Dr Alejandra Castanon from QMUL said: "Cytology has long been established as an excellent screening tool to prevent cervical cancer by detecting precancerous lesions. However, little research has been carried out regarding its sensitivity to cancer.

"We've found that this is an excellent tool for targeted screening of populations at high risk of cervical cancer, leading to early diagnosis. In resource-poor settings with limited facilities to treat advanced cancers, this could have a big impact on cervical cancer mortality."

The researchers say that restricting cytology to symptomatic women and referring only those with severe lesions would lead to substantially fewer women requiring further investigation. This could mean a reduction in burden on resource and cost, and could result in the diagnosis of cervical cancers at an earlier stage to improve overall survival from the disease.

Co-author Professor Peter Sasieni from QMUL added: "The implications are that, even when a country lacks infrastructure to implement a quality-assured cervical screening programme nationally, it might be able to facilitate early diagnosis of cervical cancer by using cervical cytology, and only referring women with severely abnormal smears."
-end-
For more information, please contact:

Joel Winston, Public Relations Manager
Queen Mary University of London
j.winston@qmul.ac.uk
Tel: +44-0-207-882-7943 / +44-0-7970-096-188

Notes to the editor

Research paper: 'Systematic review and meta-analysis of individual patient data assessing the sensitivity of cervical cytology for diagnosing cervical cancer in low and middle income countries'. Alejandra Castanon, Rebecca Landy, Dimitrios Michalopoulos, Roshni Bhudia, Hannah Leaver, You Lin Qiao, Fanghui Zhao, Peter Sasieni. Journal of Global Oncology 2017.

About Queen Mary University of London

Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) is one of the UK's leading universities, and one of the largest institutions in the University of London, with 23,120 students from more than 155 countries.

A member of the Russell Group, we work across the humanities and social sciences, medicine and dentistry, and science and engineering, with inspirational teaching directly informed by our research. In the most recent national assessment of the quality of research, we were placed ninth in the UK (REF 2014).

As well as our main site at Mile End -- which is home to one of the largest self-contained residential campuses in London - we have campuses at Whitechapel, Charterhouse Square, and West Smithfield dedicated to the study of medicine, and a base for legal studies at Lincoln's Inn Fields.

We have a rich history in London with roots in Europe's first public hospital, St Barts; England's first medical school, The London; one of the first colleges to provide higher education to women, Westfield College; and the Victorian philanthropic project, the People's Palace at Mile End.

Today, as well as retaining these close connections to our local community, we are known for our international collaborations in both teaching and research.

QMUL has an annual turnover of £350m, a research income worth £125m (2014/15), and generates employment and output worth £700m to the UK economy each year.

Queen Mary University of London

Related Cancer Articles:

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.
Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.
More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.
New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.
American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.
Oncotarget: Cancer pioneer employs physics to approach cancer in last research article
In the cover article of Tuesday's issue of Oncotarget, James Frost, MD, PhD, Kenneth Pienta, MD, and the late Donald Coffey, Ph.D., use a theory of physical and biophysical symmetry to derive a new conceptualization of cancer.
Health indicators for newborns of breast cancer survivors may vary by cancer type
In a study published in the International Journal of Cancer, researchers from the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center analyzed health indicators for children born to young breast cancer survivors in North Carolina.
Few women with history of breast cancer and ovarian cancer take a recommended genetic test
More than 80 percent of women living with a history of breast or ovarian cancer at high-risk of having a gene mutation have never taken the test that can detect it.
More Cancer News and Cancer Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Uncharted
There's so much we've yet to explore–from outer space to the deep ocean to our own brains. This hour, Manoush goes on a journey through those uncharted places, led by TED Science Curator David Biello.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#556 The Power of Friendship
It's 2020 and times are tough. Maybe some of us are learning about social distancing the hard way. Maybe we just are all a little anxious. No matter what, we could probably use a friend. But what is a friend, exactly? And why do we need them so much? This week host Bethany Brookshire speaks with Lydia Denworth, author of the new book "Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond". This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 1: Numbers
In a recent Radiolab group huddle, with coronavirus unraveling around us, the team found themselves grappling with all the numbers connected to COVID-19. Our new found 6 foot bubbles of personal space. Three percent mortality rate (or 1, or 2, or 4). 7,000 cases (now, much much more). So in the wake of that meeting, we reflect on the onslaught of numbers - what they reveal, and what they hide.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.