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Quest Diagnostics Launches Molecular Cervical Cancer Test Based on National Institutes of Health's TERC Gene Marker
Date:8/30/2012

he widespread availability of the TERC test through Quest Diagnostics achieves this goal because it has the potential to improve the prediction of cervical cancer risk for many women. It highlights the potential for successful public-private collaborations to advance the practice of medicine."

In the United States, women are screened for cervical cancer using Pap and/or human papillomavirus (HPV) tests. Neither Pap nor HPV tests provide definitive results for risk for cervical cancer. Pap tests identify and categorize cellular changes according to risk they will become malignant. HPV tests identify infection with HPV, a virus that causes cervical cancer in some women but is cleared by the immune system in others.

The new Quest Diagnostics test is designed as an adjunct to conventional Pap and HPV tests, and is performed on residual samples from Pap tests. It detects abnormal changes to the TERC gene and chromosome 3 to provide a risk assessment of progression to cervical cancer in women who receive indeterminate Pap and/or HPV test results. TERC results help categorize risk in abnormal Pap tests prior to colposcopy, a procedure to visually inspect cellular changes. Women with the highest risk result may benefit from additional cervical biopsies at colposcopy and more aggressive monitoring and treatment, while women with low-risk TERC and HPV results may be less likely to undergo unnecessary follow-up colposcopy and other procedures.

The new test may be particularly helpful in evaluating women whose Pap test shows mild cellular abnormalities known as low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (LSIL). Up to 1.5 million women in the United States receive an LSIL result each year. LSIL diagnosis and treatment is associated with higher patient anxiety, morbidity and cost, although many cases never progress to cancer.

Because cervical cancer may not produce symptoms until advanced stages of disease, scre
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SOURCE Quest Diagnostics Incorporated
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