What`s new in cervical cancer research?
Research is being done to find new ways to prevent and treat cancer of the cervix.
Sentinel lymph node biopsy
During surgery for cervical cancer, lymph nodes in the pelvis may be removed to check for cancer spread. Instead of taking out many lymph nodes, a technique called sentinel lymph node biopsy can be used to find just the few lymph nodes most likely to contain cancer. This is most often done by injecting something (like a blue dye containing a radioactive tracer) into the cancer and then removing the lymph nodes that collect the substance. These are the lymph nodes most likely to contain cancer if it had spread. If these lymph nodes don’t contain cancer, the other lymph nodes don’t need to be removed. Taking out fewer lymph nodes may lower the risk of later problems.
There are vaccines to help prevent cervical cancer. These vaccines produce immunity to certain types of HPV so that women who are exposed to these viruses will not get infections. Vaccines are also being developed to prevent some of the other HPV types that cause cancer.
Vaccines are being studied for women who already have HPV infections. These vaccines could help their immune systems destroy the virus and cure the infection before it becomes cancer. Still other vaccines are meant to help women who already have advanced cervical cancer that has come back (recurred) or spread.
As scientists have learned more about the gene changes in cells that cause cancer, they have been able to develop newer drugs that are aimed right at these changes. These targeted drugs work in a different way from standard chemo drugs. They often have less severe side effects. These drugs may be used alone or along with chemo.
Hyperthermia is a treatment that raises the temperature around the tumor. Some research suggests that adding hyperthermia to radiation may help keep the cancer from coming back and help patients live longer.
Last Medical Review: 09/12/2014
Last Revised: 10/14/2014