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Title: Detecting Endometrial Cancer Using the Common Tampon
Authors: Bakkum-Gamez Jamie N,  Wentzensen Nicolas,  Maurer Matt,  Podratz Karl,  Sherman Mark,  Shridhar Viji
Journal: J Womens Health
Date: 2013 Oct 1
Branches: MEB
PubMed ID:
PMC ID: not available
Abstract: Background and Objective: Endometrial cancer (EC) is the most common gynecologic cancer in the United States. Survival is improved in earlier stage disease and when precancerous lesions exist. A screening test for endometrial cancer does not exist. The objective was to determine whether genes commonly methylated in EC can be detected in the lower genital tract secretions of women with EC.Methods: A pilot study of women with biopsy-proven endometrial cancer and women undergoing hysterectomy for benign conditions underwent collection of the lower genital tract secretions via intravaginal tampon and endometrial brushings with a Tao brush prior to hysterectomy. DNA methylation status of RASSF1A was determined in tampon and Tao brush samples. Thirty-seven women with endometrial cancer and 29 women undergoing hysterectomy for presumed benign conditions (benign endometrium [BE]) were prospectively enrolled.Results: Methylation of RASSF1A was first determined via direct sequencing for four subjects (1 EC, 3 BE). No methylation was observed in the three BE cases; methylation of the same sites in DNA from both tampon and Tao brush was observed in the EC case. Larger scale pyrosequencing of tampon DNA revealed significantly higher methylation among all 16 RASSF1A CpG sites within the EC cohort compared to the BE cohort. RASSF1A is hypermethylated in EC (compared to BE), and this DNA alteration can be detected in the lower genital tract fluid via intravaginal tampon among women with EC.Conclusions: Combining a well-accepted collection technique with sensitive DNA analyses may lead to a screening test for EC