NEW YORK, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- A study from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital has found gene mutations linked to endometrial cancer in the uterine lavage fluid in pre- and post-menopausal women with and without detectable cancer.
Currently, there are no effective screening methods for endometrial cancer, which is on the rise in the United States.
Scientists have been able to detect genetic mutations linked to endometrial cancer in the fluid from uterine lavage, a procedure where the uterus is rinsed with saline fluid to collect loose cells and DNA.
The study involved 107 women undergoing diagnostic hysteroscopy due to post-menopausal uterine bleeding or abnormal pelvic ultrasounds. The cells collected from the women using uterine lavage were analyzed with one of two next-generation sequencing panels to detect previously established driver mutations of endometrial cancer.
Of the 107 women in the study, seven were found to have histopathological evidence of endometrial cancer and all seven had significant cancer-driver gene mutations in their uterine lavage fluid. However, 51 women without histopathological evidence of cancer also carried cancer-driver mutations in the cells and DNA from their lavage fluid.
The study found that age and post-menopausal status were associated with the likelihood of having the mutations.
"Given that a uterine lavage can be easily and quickly performed even outside of the operating room and in a physician's office-based setting, our findings suggest the future possibility of this approach for screening women for the earliest stages of endometrial cancer," John Martignetti, author of the study, said in a press release. "However, our findings suggest that further insight into development of endometrial cancer or its interruption are needed before translation to the clinic."
The study was published in PLOS Medicine.