News from the Researcher's Desk
INVESTIGATING IMMUNE MARKERS IN ENDOMETRIAL CANCER AS A DIAGNOSTIC/PROGNOSTIC TOOL
Researcher: Suzanna Hutt
Supervisors: Agnieszka Michael, Jayanta Chatterjee, Simon Butler-Manuel
Endometrial cancer is the most common but least well known of all the gynaecological cancers. Most of the time, it presents with abnormal bleeding, but this can also be a sign of many other conditions. Diagnosis is only achieved by an invasive biopsy and up to 85% of women undergo this to discover that all is normal. Once treated, there is no marker that we can test for to indicate a response to treatment or warn of potential recurrence.
Over recent years, there has also been a rise in the number of young women with endometrial cancer and its precancerous precursor, endometrial hyperplasia. These women have often not yet completed their families and so definitive treatment with a hysterectomy may not be an option. For these women, it would be beneficial to have a marker that can be monitored to detect change from pre-cancer to cancer to aid the decision of when to embark upon more definitive treatment.
Our research is investigating how the immune system impacts endometrial cancer. We are recruiting women who present with abnormal bleeding, before any diagnosis is made as well as women who are already known to have endometrial hyperplasia or endometrial cancer. By studying samples of blood, urine and the lining of the womb (endometrium), we hope to find a new marker that can be used to aid diagnosis of endometrial cancer and also monitor response to treatment.