Two recent studies published this week reveal both the possibility that mortality rates have been significantly underestimated (especially among black women) and that new genomic and molecular markers may present better targets for therapy.
Published in Cancer, an analysis of data from three sources -- the National Center for Health Statistics; the NCI Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Mortality Database; and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey -- generated new estimates that excluded women who were not at risk of dying from cervical cancer (e.g. those who had undergone hysterectomies). The researchers found that black women in the United States are dying from cervical cancer at a rate 77 percent higher than previously thought, while white women are dying at a rate 47 percent higher. For more details on the research, see the original Cancer article. For a wider public accounting of the significance of the results, see the accompanying editorial in Cancer and further reporting in The New York Times.
Also, published in Nature were the results of the most comprehensive genomic study of invasive cervical cancer to date, conducted as part of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Project. The study identifies novel clinical and molecular associations for the cancer type, as well as functionally altered signaling pathways that may drive tumorigenesis and serve as prognostic or therapeutic markers. For further research details, see the original Nature article.