Preliminar testing on marker suggests role in the control of apoptosis, making it a potential screening tool for wide array of cancers.
A team of researchers have determined that a protein P2X7 biomarker is an accurate early indicator of uterine, endometrial, and cervical cancer, as reported in the October issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention.
The P2X7 protein is a down-regulated biomarker that when diminished indicates the presence of cancer or near-cancer at its very earliest stages. George Gorodeski, Ph.D., scientific advisory board director at CytoCore and his co-authors at University Hospitals Case Medical Center found that the P2X7 biomarker detects cancerous and precancerous cells with an accuracy for sensitivity at 90–100% and for specificity at between 90–100%.

Preliminary laboratory testing on the marker suggests that it may be a genetic mechanism that controls the apoptosis in epithelial cells and therefore a potentially critical screening tool for a wide array of cancers.

“We have recently discovered that changes, or decreases, in P2X7 expression can be detected in precancerous uterine cells,” says Dr. Gorodeski. “Given the high accuracy levels in the preliminary results and our recent additional discovery, these data place the P2X7 as a possible biomarker to predict the development of uterine epithelial cancers in women.A multicenter study is being planned in order to validate the results prospectively.”

Dr. Gorodeski and his team, whose research was funded by grants from the NIH and the American Heart Association, performed comparative experiments on common epithelial uterine cancers that comprise more than 95% of all uterine cancers and found their results were consistent, regardless of tumor type. Their work also indicated that the P2X7 method’s high level of sensitivity could also enable differentiation in degree of severity of a dysplasia, which could help caregivers and patients decide how conservative or aggressive to be in the management of these cancer cases.

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