(HealthDay News) — PapSEEK, which incorporates assays for mutations in 18 genes and for aneuploidy in DNA recovered from fluids obtained during a routine Pap test, may aid in detection of endometrial and ovarian cancers, according to a study published online March 21 in Science Translational Medicine.

Yuxuan Wang, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues reported the detection of endometrial and ovarian cancer with PapSEEK.

The researchers found that 81% of Pap brush samples from 382 endometrial cancer patients were positive, including 78% with early-stage disease. Among 245 ovarian cancer patients, sensitivity was 33%, including 34% with early-stage disease. Positive Pap brush samples were seen for 1.4% of 714 women without cancer. The detection of malignancy was increased with intrauterine sampling with a Tao brush over endocervical sampling with a Pap brush: 93% of 123 patients with endometrial cancer and 45% of 51 with ovarian cancer were positive; none of the samples from 125 women without cancer were positive. Circulating tumor DNA was found in 43% of 83 ovarian cancer patients in whom plasma was available. The sensitivity for ovarian cancer increased to 63% when plasma and Pap brush samples were both tested.

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“These results demonstrate the potential of mutation-based diagnostics to detect gynecologic cancers at a stage when they are more likely to be curable,” the authors write.

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Several authors are entitled to a share of the royalties received by the university on the sales of products related to genes and technologies described in this study.


  1. Wang Y, Li L, Douville C, et al. Evaluation of liquid from the Papanicolaou test and other liquid biopsies for the detection of endometrial and ovarian cancers. Science: Transl Med. 2018. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aap8793