A unique screening test for cervical cancer

Highlights

A unique screening test for cervical cancer. Kamineni Hospital, in collaboration with Cancer Genetics Inc (CGI), has developed and validated FISH diagnostic method.

City based Kamineni Hospitals has introduced Fluorescent In Situ Hybridisation (FISH) based FHACT diagnostic screening tests for cervical cancer for the first time in India.

Kamineni Hospital, in collaboration with Cancer Genetics Inc (CGI), has developed and validated FISH diagnostic method. FHACT- FISH-based HPV-Associated Cancer Test (FHACT)- screening is mainly used for early detection and prevention of cervical cancer in patients.

The main advantage of adopting this new test is due to its ability to identify multiple markers in a cancer tumour. According to hospital sources, FHACT is the only four-colour FISH probe in the world that could be used for cervical cancer screening as a triage directly on conventional pap smear slides to detect women at a risk of developing cancer of the uterine cervix.

“The existing tests like normal pap smear and CD-DNA tests are not effective and we cannot say 100 per cent whether a person is infected or not. But FHACT test, which is already used in the US, has been introduced in the country by modifying it for the Indian conditions. With this we can surely detect and prevent the onset of cervical cancer,” said Dr Poornima, a research student at Kamineni Hospital.

Fluorescent In Situ hybridisation is a sensitive and accurate technique that allows the detection of chromosome aberrations. In this method a single stranded fluorescent labelled nucleic acid sequence (probe) complementary to a target genomic sequence is hybridised to metaphase chromosomes and interphase nuclei to detect the presence and absence of a given abnormality. The main advantage of FISH is that it can be applied to non-dividing cells and a variety of specimen types.

Globally about 5 lakh women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and more than half of them are dying due to it. In India too, cervical cancer has become a big problem impacting a million women. It accounts for 17 per cent of all cancer deaths among women aged between 30 and 69 in the country. There are no established screening programmes in India.

The Human Papilloma Virus’ (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer in women. But out of 130 HPV subtypes, only 13 have high risk for developing cervical cancer. Hence, HPV sub typing is included in current screening programme. However, all individuals with HPV do not progress to cancer, since 90 per cent of HPV infections resolve spontaneously within 1-2 years.

The most commonly described abnormality in cervical cancer is the gain of the 3q26 where 2 genes important for carcinogenesis are located. In addition to this, amplification of 5p15 and 20q13 has also been frequently described in cervical cancer. Hence a FISH based diagnosis was proposed.


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