Molecular diagnostic tests to reduce overdiagnosis and treatment for cervical cancer
Predica Diagnostics is a spin-off from Radboud UMC that develops molecular diagnostic tests for different cancers. The first focus is on improvement of cervical cancer screening, to prevent futile physical examinations of healthy women, saving time and costs and preventing unnecessary worries because of false positive tests.
Dr. William Leenders, CSO of Predica Diagnostics and associate professor at Radboudumc: “After a positive HPV-test, scrapes are examined under the microscope for the presence of aberrant cells (the PAP-test). The PAP test is however not very sensitive and lacks sufficient positive and negative predictive power for reliable stratification of women who need treatment. This is a problem because all women with a positive PAP test are referred to a gynecologist for visual inspection of the cervix (colposcopy). Because the test that we are developing not only detects the presence of an HPV, but also shows if the virus has initiated the cancer-forming process, our test result is more reliable than the PAP-test. Additionally, we can diagnose up to 750 cervical scrapes at once, making it cost-effective. In the end the test can prevent overdiagnosis and overtreatment of healthy women, resulting in lower health care costs, lower workload for clinicians and less false positive test results with associated unnecessary worries.”