Progress Made on Genetic Test for Anal Cancer

But research is still in early stages

genetic helix

FRIDAY, May 26, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- DNA methylation testing may be feasible as a molecular triage of high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive individuals for high-resolution anoscopy screening, according to a study published online May 18 in Oncotarget.

Attila Lorincz, Ph.D., from the Queen Mary University of London, and colleagues analyzed anal biopsy specimens from 148 patients, including 116 men, mostly men who have sex with men.

The researchers found methylation of HPV16 and the gene EPB41L3 showed highly significant association with increasing severity of anal intraepithelial neoplasia and cancer. They concluded that these may serve as useful biomarkers in anal disease.

"The widespread over-treatment of anal precancerous lesions is necessary today because we don't know which ones will progress to cancer," Lorincz said in a university news release. "What we really need is precision medicine to identify those who do need treatment. We believe this new set of biomarkers goes a long way to indicating which men and women are at risk of developing anal cancer."

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