Cervical cancer and blood tests

The study has investigated to what extent HPV virus, which causes cervical cancer, can be measured in blood samples specifically from cervical cancer patients as circulating HPV DNA (c-HPV DNA).

“The Vissing Foundation has supported our research project earlier. With the first analyses we succeeded in setting up a method and showing that c-HPV DNA can be measured in the blood of a very large proportion of women with advanced cervical cancer. Apart from the fact that this is in itself a previously unknown and ground-breaking discovery, we have seen that the quantity of c-HPV DNA in the blood is related to the phase of the disease and the size of the cancer tumour. The more severe the woman’s disease, the more c-HPV DNA is present,” explains the researcher, Sara Bønløkke Simonsen, MD and PhD student at the Department of Pathology at Aarhus University Hospital.

Together with colleagues she has already found a marker which can indicate with certainty that a woman has cervical cancer at a particular stage.

“Now we want to investigate several possible perspectives in the analysis. First and foremost, we want to optimise the analysis further. Then, by taking regular blood samples from a total of 140 women with cervical cancer, we will investigate whether the analysis can be used to monitor cervical cancer patients and discover earlier than we can today when a relapse is on the way. This is an important requirement for intervention in time with renewed treatment,” says Sara Bønløkke Simonsen.