You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Red Sox Live

2

8

Final

Pap test could detect other cancers

WASHINGTON — For years, doctors have lamented that there’s no Pap test for deadly ovarian cancer. Wednesday, scientists reported a tantalizing hint that one day there might be.

Researchers are trying to retool the Pap, a test for cervical cancer, so that it could spot early signs of other gynecologic cancers, too. How? It turns out that cells can flake off of tumors in the ovaries or the lining of the uterus, and float down to rest in the cervix, where Pap tests are performed. These cells are too rare to recognize under the microscope. But researchers from Johns Hopkins University used some sophisticated DNA testing on the Pap samples to uncover gene mutations that show cancer is present.

Continue reading below

In a pilot study, they analyzed Pap smears from 46 women diagnosed with either ovarian or endometrial cancer. The new technique found all the endometrial cancers and 41 percent of the ovarian tumors, the team reported Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

This is early-stage research, and women should not expect any change in their routine Paps. It will take years of additional testing to prove if the so-called PapGene technique really could work as a screening tool to spot cancer.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.