Prenatal Screening Could Detect Cancer in Pregnant Women

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Marji_140715_3A new study published in JAMA suggests that noninvasive prenatal screening—a form of generic testing designed to detect chromosomal abnormalities in fetuses—can also detect cancer in pregnant women.

Study researchers analyzed eight cases derived from 125,426 samples from asymptomatic pregnant women; female participants were part of a noninvasive prenatal screening between 2012 and 2014.

From the sample, 3,757 cases reported positive for at least one abnormality in the number of chromosomes 13, 18, 21, X, or Y. The laboratory was later notified of 10 cases of cancer among the women.

Researchers investigated eight of the 10 cases further and discovered that each participant had a noninvasive prenatal screening, and that the majority of these women had more than one chromosomal abnormality detected.

Cancer was found in these women during pregnancy or after giving birth—about 16 weeks after the noninvasive prenatal screening. Analyzing the results, study researchers estimate there is a 20%–44% chance of developing maternal cancer if multiple chromosomal abnormalities are found.

Study researchers note that further studies need to be done to assess the implications of noninvasive prenatal screening, as it’s not yet clear if follow-up clinical evaluations are required. Researchers conclude, however, that these findings are essential as noninvasive prenatal screening becomes more widely used.

Noninvasive prenatal screening allows women to find out if their fetuses have chromosomal abnormalities by analyzing the maternal and placental DNA in the plasma.

Source for Today’s Article:
McIntosh, J. “Noninvasive prenatal testing could detect maternal cancer,” Medical News Today web site, July 14, 2015;

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