Assessment of Screening Modalities for Gynecologic Cancers


About this study


  • Endometrial and ovarian cancers are, respectively, the fourth and eighth most common cancers among women in the United States. Although some routine Pap tests may detect the presence of cancer cells, there are no convincing early detection approaches for either cancer. Better methods of detection are needed.
  • Two possible methods for cancer detection involve samples taken with a tampon or a special kind of brush, called a Tao brush. Researchers would like to know more about how well these methods work.


  • To assess the quality of DNA collected by the tampon and Tao brush sampling methods.
  • To detect genetic markers in collected DNA and determine if these markers are related to an individual s cancer status.


  • Women age 45 years and older with confirmed or suspected endometrial or ovarian cancer, who will be having surgery.
  • A control group of postmenopausal women having surgery for benign gynecological conditions will be included.


  • Shortly before hysterectomy or more extensive procedures to treat either cancer or the benign condition:
  • A tampon will be inserted into the vagina to collect cell samples, and removed after 30 minutes.
  • After the tampon is removed, the cervix will be swabbed with the Tao brush to collect cell samples.
  • Following the hysterectomy, samples of healthy and cancerous tissue will be taken, and tested by researchers.

Participation eligibility

Participant eligibility includes age, gender, type and stage of disease, and previous treatments or health concerns. Guidelines differ from study to study, and identify who can or cannot participate. There is no guarantee that every individual who qualifies and wants to participate in a trial will be enrolled. Contact the study team to discuss study eligibility and potential participation.

Inclusion Criteria:

  • The study will enroll a total of 170 women consented for hysterectomy.
    • One hundred and seventeen (117) will either have
      1. suspected ovarian cancer based on clinical impression, cytologic or histologic diagnoses (effusions, Pap tests or other biopsies), or
      2. suspected endometrial cancer based on biopsy diagnoses of atypical endometrial hyperplasia (or its equivalent endometrial intraepithelial neoplasia), endometrial intraepithelial carcinoma (i.e. in-situ/ early serous carcinoma) or carcinoma.
    • Fifty-three (53) will be undergoing definitive treatment for benign conditions (uterine fibroids, benign appearing adnexal pathology and normal CA 125, pelvic floor dysfunction not to exceed grade 1 or 2 uterine descensus).
  • Since the analyzed cancers do not occur in children, they will not be included in this study.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Surgical candidates for recurrent disease
  • Preoperative neoadjuvant chemotherapy or radiotherapy
  • History of tubal ligation, salpingitis, or hysterectomy (ovarian cancer patients)
  • Control patients who are less than 45 years of age.
  • Patients receiving treatment for active endometriosis.
  • Cervical stenosis recognized clinically by not accepting the Tao Brush
  • Endometrial sampling within 5 days of anticipated surgery
  • Prior history of endometrial ablation
  • Patients with cervical cancer

Participating Mayo Clinic locations

Study statuses change often. Please contact the study team for the most up-to-date information regarding possible participation.

Mayo Clinic Location Status Contact

Rochester, Minn.

Mayo Clinic principal investigator

Jamie Bakkum-Gamez, M.D.

Contact us for the latest status

Contact information:

Marla Kay Sommerfield

(507) 538-7977

More information


  • Ovarian cancer screening with transvaginal ultrasound (TVU) and CA-125 was evaluated in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Trial. Read More on PubMed
  • The objective was to describe and compare types and duration of symptoms among women with invasive versus borderline ovarian tumors. Read More on PubMed
  • Cancer of the ovary is a disease of older American women with an incidence rate of 9.4 per 100,000 for those under 65 compared to 54.8 per 100,000 for those 65 years of age and over. Read More on PubMed

Study Results Summary

Not yet available

Supplemental Study Information

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