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.