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Clinics of Oncology
Editorial ISSN: 2640-1037 Volume 3
Principles of Cancer Screening
Petrikovsky BM*
Department of Gynecology, Professor and Former Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Nassau University Medical Center, NY, USA
*
Corresponding author:
Boris M Petrikovsky,
Department of Gynecology,
Professor and Former Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology,
Nassau University Medical Center, NY, USA,
Email: bpetriko@gmail.com
Received: 06 Nov 2020
Accepted: 20 Nov 2020
Published: 24 Nov 2020
Copyright:
©2020 Petrikovsky BM et al. This is an open access arti-
cle distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons
Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, dis-
tribution, and build upon your work non-commercially.
Citation:
Petrikovsky BM, Principles of Cancer Screening. Clin-
ics of Oncology. 2020; 3(4): 1-7.
In 1968, Wilson and Jungner (WJ) put together the following
criteria of screening approved by the World Health Organization
(WHO) [1].
1. The condition sought should be an important health prob-
lem.
2. There should be an accepted treatment for patients with
recognized disease.
3. Facilities for diagnosis and treatment should be available.
4. There should be a recognizable latent or early symptom-
atic stage.
5. There should be a suitable test or examination.
6. The test should be acceptable to the population.
7. The natural history of the condition, including develop-
ment from latent to declared disease, should be adequate-
ly understood.
8. There should be an agreed policy on whom to treat as
patients.
9. The cost of case-finding (including diagnosis and treat-
ment of patients diagnosed) should be economically bal-
anced in relation to possible expenditure on medical care
as a whole.
10. Case-finding should be a continuing process and not a
"once and for all" project.
Recently, the WHO officers have updated the WJ criteria taking
into account recent developments in genetic and genomic medi-
cine, among many other factors.
Synthesis of emerging screening criteria proposed over the past
40 years
1. The screening program should respond to a recognized
need.
2. The objectives of screening should be defined at the out-
set.
3. There should be a defined target population.
4. There should be scientific evidence of screening program
effectiveness.
5. The program should integrate education, testing, clinical
services and program management.
6. There should be quality assurance, with mechanisms to
minimize potential risks of screening.
7. The program should ensure informed choice, confidenti-
ality and respect for autonomy.
8. The program should promote equity and access to screen-
ing for the entire target population.
9. Program evaluation should be planned from the outset.
10. The overall benefits of screening should outweigh the
harm.
The perfect example of successful screening is cervical cancer
(CC), a “fairytale” of gynecological oncology.
• The HPV virus is a known cause of cervical dysplasia and
cancer. CC, therefore, is a sexually transmitted disease.
• CC has known precursors – various degrees of cervical
dysplasia.
clinicsofoncology.com 1
• PAP smear and HPV testing are noninvasive and reliable
screening tests.
• CC precursors are amenable to detection via cytology,
colposcopy, and tissue biopsy. Treatment of precursors
largely eliminate the risk of CC.
• Finally, a vaccine was developed (Gardasil) and was suc-
cessfully used.
CitiScreen Steps of Cancer Screening:
• Screening for risk factors (healthy individuals at risk),
e.g., BRCA gene for breast cancer.
• Screening for cancer precursors, e.g., cervical dysplasia
for cervical cancer, complex endometrial hyperplasia for
endometrial cancer.
• Screening for early stage cancers, e.g., tumor markers
like CA125 for ovarian cancer.
CitiScreen is designed to utilize the latest achievements in can-
cer prevention research and follow the general recommendations
of the ACS. However, most public policies are based on princi-
ples of cost-effectiveness, sometimes at the expense of allowing
some cancers to appear and spread. CitiScreen provides potential
patients with updated information and allows them to make their
choices of screening procedures, which may not be covered by
their insurance policies.
1. Scientific Basis for Cancer Screening
A 2003 review published by Nature addressed the scientific base
for early cancer screening [3]. The reviewers used accepted cate-
gories of evidence and consensus [4].
Categories of Evidence and Consensus
Category 1: The recommendation is based on high-level evidence
(e.g., randomized controlled trials) and there is uniform consensus.
Category 2A: The recommendation is based on lower-level evi-
dence and there is uniform consensus.
Category 2B: The recommendation is based on lower-level evi-
dence and there is nonuniform consensus (but no major disagree-
ment).
Category 3: The recommendation is based on any level of evi-
dence but reflects major disagreement.
For the overall population, shifting all cases to early detection
would have a significant impact on mortality. Tests that can detect
precursor lesions or in situ disease hold the possibility of eliminat-
ing the invasive disease. An example of this being done success-
fully is that of cervical cancer [3]. Research into cancer screening
and prevention can be divided into five steps [5].
Step 1: Step one studies that evaluated the expression of genes or
proteins. New proteomics technologies will allow discovery to be
performed directly in fluids (serum or urine), which will greatly
facilitate the process of early-detection biomarker research. The
study, which combined algorithms with computational optimiza-
tion and peaks from protein mass spectra that provided discrim-
ination between ovarian cancer cases and healthy controls, is an
example of step one research [6].
Step 2: The goals of step two studies are to develop clinical assays
that are reproducible within and between laboratories.
Step 3: Retrospective, longitudinal studies.
Step 1 and 2 studies focus on discriminating between established
cases and healthy controls [3]. Step 3 studies focus on biomarker
measurements before diagnosis. Step 3 studies provide informa-
tion on how marker levels change over time in disease cases and
in healthy individuals.
Step 4: Prospective screening studies. Step 3 studies can deter-
mine how long before clinical diagnosis a marker might be able
to detect disease. Prospective studies are necessary to determine
whether the marker is able to detect the disease while it is still
localized.
Step 5: Cancer control studies.
Steps 1-4 focus on developing tests that are feasible for wide-
spread use and evaluating their diagnostic performance. Even if a
test performs well, this does not necessarily imply that the test will
reduce the cancer mortality [3].
Step 6: Step 5 studies include randomized, controlled cancer
screening trials, case-control studies, computer modelling, and
population studies. The goal of evaluation is to document or refute
efficacy.
Because of the difficulties in assessing early-detection interven-
tions, the standard of evidence for efficacy of a screening test is
the randomized controlled trial (RCT). Only in the context of a
randomized trial can the mortality reduction due to screening be
directly estimated [3, 6].
Other than RCT, research methods also offer important informa-
tion. Non-randomized approaches (epidemiological case-control
studies) have been adapted for assessing the efficacy of cancer
screening tests [7, 8]. Both case-control and population studies
allow for the evaluation of screening tests [9]. Case-control stud-
ies compare the screening results of ‘cases’ (individuals who died
from the disease) with ‘controls’ (individuals from the same popu-
lation who did not die from the disease) [3, 8].
2. Summary of CitiScreen Project*
The American Cancer Society (ACS) publishes guidelines for ear-
ly cancer screening based on age, gender, family history, among
other factors [9]. Cancer screening is a complex process, which
includes physical diagnosis, family history, genetic and genomic
assessments, tumor markers, and imaging techniques, among oth-
ers. In most health systems, including in the United States, cancer
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Volume 3 Issue 4 -2020 Editorial
screening is performed by healthcare providers of various special-
ties: general and internal medicine practitioners, gynecologists,
family physicians, and others. Although cancer screening is a part
of the residency and fellowship training for many specialties, it is
not their primary goal. Most of these health care providers spend
the majority of their time treating hypertension, flu, diarrhea, etc.
On the other hand, specialists in oncology, whose primary goal is
the treatment of cancer, are usually occupied with treating patients
with already established diagnoses of various malignancies. The
screening and early detection of the majority of tumors is import-
ant because the success of therapy and survival is better in early
stages of cancer. The goal of this manuscript is to present an algo-
rithm for cancer screening that combines imaging, genetic, tumor
markers, and other technologies.
The goal of cancer screening is to detect cancer or its precursor le-
sions at an early stage when treatment is most effective, preferably
prior to the onset of symptoms. Cancer mortality has decreased
by 25% from 1990 to 2015 for the United States with greater de-
clines in the mortality for colorectal cancer (47% among men and
44% among women) and breast cancer.1 This may be attributed to
the introduction of screening programs for colorectal and breast
cancers.1 The most successful cancer screening programs are con-
centrated on the detection of the precursor lesions (e.g., cervical
intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) in cervical cancer screening and
colonic polyps in colorectal cancer screening programs [10, 11].
3. Screening Patterns of Individual Cancers
3.1. Breast Cancer: Risk-prediction models have been created to
identify individuals who are at higher risk for breast cancer, (i.e.,
family history, personal history) as well as hormonal exposure
(i.e., age of menarche) and genetic markers (i.e., single nucleotide
polymorphisms) in an effort to improve risk-stratification [12].
The input of genetics and genomics became important after the
identification of the germline p53 mutation: the ability to identify
individuals with a germline mutation improves risk-stratification
and helps identify those who will benefit from frequent screening
and possibly preventive procedures [13]. Women at high risk of
breast cancer (carrier of a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation) should
undergo extensive screening and may also consider prophylactic
mastectomy to reduce their risk.
3.2. Ovarian Cancer: It is the most lethal of all cancers of the
female reproductive system. Recent evidence suggests that high-
grade serous ovarian cancer arises from malignant cells in the
fimbriated end of the fallopian tube [14]. Much of this lethality
is due to the difficulty in diagnosis because of vague symptoms
(abdominal fullness and bloating, low abdominal dull pain, and
fatigue). This often leads to a delayed detection, with 60% of cases
diagnosed at either stage III or IV. The median age for a patient at
the time of ovarian cancer diagnosis is 63. For low-risk women,
the strategies for ovarian cancer screening have included transvag-
inal (TV) ultrasonography and Doppler studies. Serum biomarkers
(CA-125 and others) have also been used to screen for ovarian
cancer. Other serum biomarkers such as human epididymis protein
(HE4) and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) have been tested
in combination with CA-125 to improve the screening program’s
performance. Currently, the most promising approach for ovarian
cancer screening is a strategy combining serum CA-125, with or
without other biomarkers, and TV ultrasound.
3.3. Lung Cancer: Lung cancer escapes early detection in women
because most gynecologists, as primary care providers for wom-
en, have no training and/or experience in detection of lung cancer.
Lung cancer is the most common cancer affecting both men and
women, accounting for an estimate 228,150 new cases in 2019
[17]. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer in men
and women, accounting for an estimated 142,670 deaths in 2019,
which is approximately 25% of all cancer deaths in the United
States [18]. Trends in lung cancer incidence and mortality vary by
gender. For men, mortality rates have declined by 45% since 1990.
For women, mortality rates have declined by only 19% since 2002.
The recent data indicates that 79% of lung cancers are diagnosed
as distant disease, for which a 5-year survival is very poor (30%
for regional disease, and 5% for distant disease) [17]. ACS recom-
mends annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose CT (LDCT)
in the high-risk group (past and/or current history of active or
passive smoking). The National Comprehensive Cancer Network
(NCCN) recommends annual lung cancer screening for adults who
do not have additional risk factors. The NCCN does not specify
a specific age for ending screenings, stating that they should be
continued until individuals are no longer candidates for defini-
tive treatments [9]. The NCCN recommends that adults who have
additional risk factors for lung cancer, such as a personal history
of other cancers or lung disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease and diffuse pulmonary fibrosis), a family history of lung
cancer, radon exposure, or occupational exposure to carcinogens
that elevate their 5-year risk above 1.3%, should begin screening
at age 50. The Lung Screening Trial Research Team (LSTRT) re-
ported a reduced lung cancer mortality after the initiation of low
dose CT screening [19]. Molecular markers in blood, sputum, and
bronchial brushings have been studied but are currently unsuitable
for clinical applications [20]. Advances in multidetector Comput-
ed Tomography (CT) have made high-resolution volumetric imag-
ing possible in a single breath hold at acceptable levels of radia-
tion exposure [21]. Several observational studies have shown that
low-dose helical CT of the lung detects early-stage cancers more
effectively than chest radiography [20]. Scanners that are currently
used are technologically more advanced than those that were used
in the past. This difference may mean that screening with today’s
scanners will result in a further reduction in the rate of death from
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Volume 3 Issue 4 -2020 Editorial
lung cancer.
3.4 Colorectal Cancer (CRC) Screening: In 2019, the ACS es-
timated that 145,600 new cases of CRC will be diagnosed in men
and women, and 51,020 men and women will die from this dis-
ease [9]. CRC mortality has been declining for the past 2 decades
among adults aged 50 years and older, which is largely attributable
to the increase in screening and early detection. Among individu-
als aged ≥50 years, CRC incidence declined by 32% between 2000
and 2013 [22, 23]. The ACS recommends that: 1) average-risk
adults with a life expectancy of greater than 10 years continue
CRC screening until the age of 75; and 2) clinicians individualize
CRC screening decisions for individuals aged 76 through 85 years,
based on patient preferences, life expectancy, health status, and
prior screening history. The options for CRC screening are: fe-
cal immunochemical test (FIT) annually, high-sensitivity guaiac-
based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) annually, multitarget stool
DNA test every 3 years, colonoscopy every 5 years, or flexible
sigmoidoscopy every 5 years [24]. The ACS updated its guidelines
for CRC screening in 2018. The ACS recommends that adults aged
45 years and older with an average risk of CRC undergo regu-
lar screening with either a high-sensitivity, stool-based test or a
structural (visual) examination. As part of the screening process,
all positive results from non-colonoscopy screening tests should
be followed with colonoscopy.
3.5. Recommendations for High-Risk Adults: The ACS recom-
mends more intensive surveillance for individuals at higher risk
for CRC [25-27]. Those at higher risk for CRC include individu-
als with: 1) a history of adenomatous polyps [28]; 2) a history of
resection of CRC; 3) a family history of either CRC or advanced
adenomas diagnosed in a first-degree relative [29]; 4) the presence
of hereditary syndromes (e.g., Lynch syndrome or familial ade-
nomatous polyposis); 5) a history of inflammatory bowel disease;
6) a history of abdominal or pelvic radiation [30]; and 7) patients
with cystic fibrosis [31]. Adenomatous polyposis account for 2%
of all colon cancers. We incorporated a myriad genetic program
into CitiScreen, including COLARIS, which detects mutations in
the APC and MYH genes. [They gauge] adenomatous polyposis
related colon cancer syndromes, including familial adenomatous
polyposis (FAP), attenuated FAP (AFAP) and MYH-associated
polyposis (MAP). COLARIS uses blood or oral rinse sample to
detect APC or MYH mutation.
3.6. Benefits of COLARIS AP Testing: The result of the CO-
LARIS AP test enable patients to develop an individualized medi-
cal management plan to:
• Personalize patient care to individuals with APC or MYH
gene mutation(s);
• Improve outcomes through early diagnosis of cancer;
• Counsel patients on the underlying cause of the cancer or
adenomas;
• Avoid unnecessary interventions involving family mem-
bers who do not test positive for the mutation(s);
• Differentiate between AFAP, MAP, and Lynch syndrome.
3.7. Endometrial Cancer (EC): EC is the most common type of
gynecologic cancer in the United States. In 2007, 61,380 new cases
of EC were diagnosed, and 10,920 deaths occurred [32]. In 2008,
theAmerican College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)
put together a special committee to develop recommendations on
the role of transvaginal sonography to evaluate the endometrium in
postmenopausal women [33]. An endometrial thickness of 4mm or
less has a greater than 99% negative predictive value for EC [33].
In women of reproductive age, in the absence of ovulation, the
endometrium is exposed to continuous estrogen, which can lead to
endometrial hyperplasia (EH) [34]. If identified in a timely fash-
ion, EH can be treated. Complex EH can progress to EC in up to
one-fourth of women [35, 36]. Complex EH with atypia can lead
to EC in up to one-half of women [37]. The leading risk factors for
EH and EC include age, nulliparity, diabetes, and obesity [38, 39].
Among women found to have endometrial polyps, the prevalence
of premalignant or malignant polyps was 5.42% in postmenopaus-
al women compared with 1.7% in reproductive-aged women. The
prevalence of endometrial neoplasia within polyps in women with
symptomatic bleeding was 4.15% compared with 2.16% for those
without bleeding. Among symptomatic postmenopausal women
with endometrial polyps, 4.47% had malignant polyps in com-
parison to 1.51% of asymptomatic postmenopausal women [40,
41]. In these cases, an office hysteroscopy can be utilized for EC
screening [41]. In 2000, we presented our preliminary results us-
ing menstrual blood content to screen for endometrial cancer in
menstruating younger women [42]. We concluded that menstrual
smears do have diagnostic potential for EC screening in a high-risk
population. Although endometrial histology remains the gold stan-
dard, cytology may also be helpful for screening purposes [43].
The sensitivity of the endometrial cytology for detecting hyper-
plasia/carcinoma was 57% and the specificity was 98%. Although
the accuracy of our approach has yet to be established, it may be
similar to the guaiac method for colorectal screening [44].
4. CitiScreen Tumor Markers (TM) Program
The topic of TM in cancer screening is confusing and controver-
sial. It is known that the presence of a number of malignancies
is associated with the appearance of TM in body fluids (blood,
urine, saliva, etc.). The main problem with TM is that they have
low specificity and may be abnormal in numerous conditions un-
related to cancer. Many of the TM appear late in the course of the
disease and are used to monitor progress in treatment. CitiScreen
incorporates TM into the screening protocols according to the rec-
ommendations of the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
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Volume 3 Issue 4 -2020 Editorial
Several of the TM applicable for cancer detection in women with ovarian cysts/tumors are reflected in table 1.
Cancer antigen (ovarian cancer)
Carcinoembryonic antigen
Inhibit (granulosa cell tumor)
Anti-Müllerian hormone (granulosa cell tumor)
Estradiol (granulosa cell tumor)
Testosterone (Sertoli-Leydig tumor)
Androstenedione (Sertoli-Leydig tumor)
Dihydroepiandrosterone (Sertoli-Leydig tumor)
Alfa-fetoprotein (yolk sac tumor, immature teratoma, mixed germ cell tumor)
HCG (choriocarcinoma, embryonal, polyembonal, mixed germ cell tumor)
Lactate dehydrogenase (dysgerminoma, yolk sac tumor, immature teratoma, mixed germ cell tumor
TM for cancer screening are presented in table 2.
Type of Malignancy What is Analyzed TM
Breast Cancer Blood
BRCA 1 CA 15-3
BRCA 2 CA 27-29
Ovarian Cancer Blood
CA 125
HEY
Brain Cancer Blood Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)
Leukemia Blood BCR-ABL fusion gene
Thyroid Cancer Blood
Thyroid transcription factor 1
Calcitonin
Thyroglobulin
Colorectal Cancer Blood
CEA
Tumor M2-PK
Small cell Lung Cancer Blood Neuronspecific enolase (NSE)
Neuroblastoma Urine
Catecholamines:
WMA 2 HVA
Colon Cancer, Lung Cancer, Urinary Tract Cancer Blood Carcinoembryonic antigen
Recently, a new multi-analyte blood test named CancerSEEK has
been introduced to the field of oncology screening [46]. For many
adult cancers, it takes 20 to 30 years for incipient neoplastic le-
sions to progress to a late-stage disease [46]. CancerSEEK uses
combined assays for genetic alterations and protein biomarkers. It
has the capacity to not only to identify early cancers, but also to
localize the organ of origin of these cancers [45]. On the basis of
this DNA analysis, the predicted maximum detection capability
of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) varied by tumor type, rang-
ing from 60% for liver cancer to 100% for ovarian cancer [45].
CancerSEEK’s algorithm includes a ctDNA mutation followed by
elevations of cancer antigen 125 (CA-125), carcinoembryonic an-
tigen (CEA), cancer antigen 19-9 (CA-19-9), prolactin (PRL), he-
patocyte growth factor (HGF), osteopontin (OPN), myeloperoxi-
dase (MPO), and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases 1 (TIMP-1)
[45, 46]. The advantage of the combination of protein and genetic
biomarkers is the increased sensitivity.
The major problem with TM is that they are products of tumor
metabolic pathways while the goal of screening is to detect can-
cer precursors. The new DETECT test represents a combination
of TM with diagnostic PET-CT imaging [47, 49]. The DETECT-A
blood test incorporates baseline and confirmation test components
that have the potential to detect cancer in many organs. Diagnostic
PET-CT is an FDA cleared test that is routinely used to detect tu-
mors. A large body of clinical evidence supports its high sensitiv-
ity for early-stage cancers [46, 47]. The most commonly elevated
protein biomarkers in participants with cancer were CA15-3 and
CEA, followed by CA19-9, CA125, and HGF. Elevated levels of
some proteins were sometimes found in patients with cancers not
usually associated with those markers, (e.g., CEA in a lung cancer
clinicsofoncology.com 5
Volume 3 Issue 4 -2020 Editorial
and CA19-9 in an ovarian cancer) [50].
The analysis of cfDNA has the advantage of identifying alterations
that are specific to the tumor [51]. The application of sequencing
has allowed ctDNA-based tumor genotyping, which are present
in a variety of cancers [50]. TEC-Seq program assessed the plas-
ma specimen in “healthy” individuals (not known to have cancer).
Samples were processed within two hours to ensure the collection
of cells and cellular debris [51]. TEC-Seq analyses have signifi-
cantly reduced the sequencing error rate to fewer than one false
positive per 3 million bases pairs. Given the different tumors that
could be detected, other diagnostic tests will be needed to comple-
ment any positive ctDNA mutations analysis to identify the source
of occult lesions [57, 58].
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clinicsofoncology.com 7
Volume 3 Issue 4 -2020 Editorial

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Principles of Cancer Screening

  • 1. Clinics of Oncology Editorial ISSN: 2640-1037 Volume 3 Principles of Cancer Screening Petrikovsky BM* Department of Gynecology, Professor and Former Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Nassau University Medical Center, NY, USA * Corresponding author: Boris M Petrikovsky, Department of Gynecology, Professor and Former Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Nassau University Medical Center, NY, USA, Email: bpetriko@gmail.com Received: 06 Nov 2020 Accepted: 20 Nov 2020 Published: 24 Nov 2020 Copyright: ©2020 Petrikovsky BM et al. This is an open access arti- cle distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, dis- tribution, and build upon your work non-commercially. Citation: Petrikovsky BM, Principles of Cancer Screening. Clin- ics of Oncology. 2020; 3(4): 1-7. In 1968, Wilson and Jungner (WJ) put together the following criteria of screening approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) [1]. 1. The condition sought should be an important health prob- lem. 2. There should be an accepted treatment for patients with recognized disease. 3. Facilities for diagnosis and treatment should be available. 4. There should be a recognizable latent or early symptom- atic stage. 5. There should be a suitable test or examination. 6. The test should be acceptable to the population. 7. The natural history of the condition, including develop- ment from latent to declared disease, should be adequate- ly understood. 8. There should be an agreed policy on whom to treat as patients. 9. The cost of case-finding (including diagnosis and treat- ment of patients diagnosed) should be economically bal- anced in relation to possible expenditure on medical care as a whole. 10. Case-finding should be a continuing process and not a "once and for all" project. Recently, the WHO officers have updated the WJ criteria taking into account recent developments in genetic and genomic medi- cine, among many other factors. Synthesis of emerging screening criteria proposed over the past 40 years 1. The screening program should respond to a recognized need. 2. The objectives of screening should be defined at the out- set. 3. There should be a defined target population. 4. There should be scientific evidence of screening program effectiveness. 5. The program should integrate education, testing, clinical services and program management. 6. There should be quality assurance, with mechanisms to minimize potential risks of screening. 7. The program should ensure informed choice, confidenti- ality and respect for autonomy. 8. The program should promote equity and access to screen- ing for the entire target population. 9. Program evaluation should be planned from the outset. 10. The overall benefits of screening should outweigh the harm. The perfect example of successful screening is cervical cancer (CC), a “fairytale” of gynecological oncology. • The HPV virus is a known cause of cervical dysplasia and cancer. CC, therefore, is a sexually transmitted disease. • CC has known precursors – various degrees of cervical dysplasia. clinicsofoncology.com 1
  • 2. • PAP smear and HPV testing are noninvasive and reliable screening tests. • CC precursors are amenable to detection via cytology, colposcopy, and tissue biopsy. Treatment of precursors largely eliminate the risk of CC. • Finally, a vaccine was developed (Gardasil) and was suc- cessfully used. CitiScreen Steps of Cancer Screening: • Screening for risk factors (healthy individuals at risk), e.g., BRCA gene for breast cancer. • Screening for cancer precursors, e.g., cervical dysplasia for cervical cancer, complex endometrial hyperplasia for endometrial cancer. • Screening for early stage cancers, e.g., tumor markers like CA125 for ovarian cancer. CitiScreen is designed to utilize the latest achievements in can- cer prevention research and follow the general recommendations of the ACS. However, most public policies are based on princi- ples of cost-effectiveness, sometimes at the expense of allowing some cancers to appear and spread. CitiScreen provides potential patients with updated information and allows them to make their choices of screening procedures, which may not be covered by their insurance policies. 1. Scientific Basis for Cancer Screening A 2003 review published by Nature addressed the scientific base for early cancer screening [3]. The reviewers used accepted cate- gories of evidence and consensus [4]. Categories of Evidence and Consensus Category 1: The recommendation is based on high-level evidence (e.g., randomized controlled trials) and there is uniform consensus. Category 2A: The recommendation is based on lower-level evi- dence and there is uniform consensus. Category 2B: The recommendation is based on lower-level evi- dence and there is nonuniform consensus (but no major disagree- ment). Category 3: The recommendation is based on any level of evi- dence but reflects major disagreement. For the overall population, shifting all cases to early detection would have a significant impact on mortality. Tests that can detect precursor lesions or in situ disease hold the possibility of eliminat- ing the invasive disease. An example of this being done success- fully is that of cervical cancer [3]. Research into cancer screening and prevention can be divided into five steps [5]. Step 1: Step one studies that evaluated the expression of genes or proteins. New proteomics technologies will allow discovery to be performed directly in fluids (serum or urine), which will greatly facilitate the process of early-detection biomarker research. The study, which combined algorithms with computational optimiza- tion and peaks from protein mass spectra that provided discrim- ination between ovarian cancer cases and healthy controls, is an example of step one research [6]. Step 2: The goals of step two studies are to develop clinical assays that are reproducible within and between laboratories. Step 3: Retrospective, longitudinal studies. Step 1 and 2 studies focus on discriminating between established cases and healthy controls [3]. Step 3 studies focus on biomarker measurements before diagnosis. Step 3 studies provide informa- tion on how marker levels change over time in disease cases and in healthy individuals. Step 4: Prospective screening studies. Step 3 studies can deter- mine how long before clinical diagnosis a marker might be able to detect disease. Prospective studies are necessary to determine whether the marker is able to detect the disease while it is still localized. Step 5: Cancer control studies. Steps 1-4 focus on developing tests that are feasible for wide- spread use and evaluating their diagnostic performance. Even if a test performs well, this does not necessarily imply that the test will reduce the cancer mortality [3]. Step 6: Step 5 studies include randomized, controlled cancer screening trials, case-control studies, computer modelling, and population studies. The goal of evaluation is to document or refute efficacy. Because of the difficulties in assessing early-detection interven- tions, the standard of evidence for efficacy of a screening test is the randomized controlled trial (RCT). Only in the context of a randomized trial can the mortality reduction due to screening be directly estimated [3, 6]. Other than RCT, research methods also offer important informa- tion. Non-randomized approaches (epidemiological case-control studies) have been adapted for assessing the efficacy of cancer screening tests [7, 8]. Both case-control and population studies allow for the evaluation of screening tests [9]. Case-control stud- ies compare the screening results of ‘cases’ (individuals who died from the disease) with ‘controls’ (individuals from the same popu- lation who did not die from the disease) [3, 8]. 2. Summary of CitiScreen Project* The American Cancer Society (ACS) publishes guidelines for ear- ly cancer screening based on age, gender, family history, among other factors [9]. Cancer screening is a complex process, which includes physical diagnosis, family history, genetic and genomic assessments, tumor markers, and imaging techniques, among oth- ers. In most health systems, including in the United States, cancer clinicsofoncology.com 2 Volume 3 Issue 4 -2020 Editorial
  • 3. screening is performed by healthcare providers of various special- ties: general and internal medicine practitioners, gynecologists, family physicians, and others. Although cancer screening is a part of the residency and fellowship training for many specialties, it is not their primary goal. Most of these health care providers spend the majority of their time treating hypertension, flu, diarrhea, etc. On the other hand, specialists in oncology, whose primary goal is the treatment of cancer, are usually occupied with treating patients with already established diagnoses of various malignancies. The screening and early detection of the majority of tumors is import- ant because the success of therapy and survival is better in early stages of cancer. The goal of this manuscript is to present an algo- rithm for cancer screening that combines imaging, genetic, tumor markers, and other technologies. The goal of cancer screening is to detect cancer or its precursor le- sions at an early stage when treatment is most effective, preferably prior to the onset of symptoms. Cancer mortality has decreased by 25% from 1990 to 2015 for the United States with greater de- clines in the mortality for colorectal cancer (47% among men and 44% among women) and breast cancer.1 This may be attributed to the introduction of screening programs for colorectal and breast cancers.1 The most successful cancer screening programs are con- centrated on the detection of the precursor lesions (e.g., cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) in cervical cancer screening and colonic polyps in colorectal cancer screening programs [10, 11]. 3. Screening Patterns of Individual Cancers 3.1. Breast Cancer: Risk-prediction models have been created to identify individuals who are at higher risk for breast cancer, (i.e., family history, personal history) as well as hormonal exposure (i.e., age of menarche) and genetic markers (i.e., single nucleotide polymorphisms) in an effort to improve risk-stratification [12]. The input of genetics and genomics became important after the identification of the germline p53 mutation: the ability to identify individuals with a germline mutation improves risk-stratification and helps identify those who will benefit from frequent screening and possibly preventive procedures [13]. Women at high risk of breast cancer (carrier of a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation) should undergo extensive screening and may also consider prophylactic mastectomy to reduce their risk. 3.2. Ovarian Cancer: It is the most lethal of all cancers of the female reproductive system. Recent evidence suggests that high- grade serous ovarian cancer arises from malignant cells in the fimbriated end of the fallopian tube [14]. Much of this lethality is due to the difficulty in diagnosis because of vague symptoms (abdominal fullness and bloating, low abdominal dull pain, and fatigue). This often leads to a delayed detection, with 60% of cases diagnosed at either stage III or IV. The median age for a patient at the time of ovarian cancer diagnosis is 63. For low-risk women, the strategies for ovarian cancer screening have included transvag- inal (TV) ultrasonography and Doppler studies. Serum biomarkers (CA-125 and others) have also been used to screen for ovarian cancer. Other serum biomarkers such as human epididymis protein (HE4) and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) have been tested in combination with CA-125 to improve the screening program’s performance. Currently, the most promising approach for ovarian cancer screening is a strategy combining serum CA-125, with or without other biomarkers, and TV ultrasound. 3.3. Lung Cancer: Lung cancer escapes early detection in women because most gynecologists, as primary care providers for wom- en, have no training and/or experience in detection of lung cancer. Lung cancer is the most common cancer affecting both men and women, accounting for an estimate 228,150 new cases in 2019 [17]. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer in men and women, accounting for an estimated 142,670 deaths in 2019, which is approximately 25% of all cancer deaths in the United States [18]. Trends in lung cancer incidence and mortality vary by gender. For men, mortality rates have declined by 45% since 1990. For women, mortality rates have declined by only 19% since 2002. The recent data indicates that 79% of lung cancers are diagnosed as distant disease, for which a 5-year survival is very poor (30% for regional disease, and 5% for distant disease) [17]. ACS recom- mends annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose CT (LDCT) in the high-risk group (past and/or current history of active or passive smoking). The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommends annual lung cancer screening for adults who do not have additional risk factors. The NCCN does not specify a specific age for ending screenings, stating that they should be continued until individuals are no longer candidates for defini- tive treatments [9]. The NCCN recommends that adults who have additional risk factors for lung cancer, such as a personal history of other cancers or lung disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diffuse pulmonary fibrosis), a family history of lung cancer, radon exposure, or occupational exposure to carcinogens that elevate their 5-year risk above 1.3%, should begin screening at age 50. The Lung Screening Trial Research Team (LSTRT) re- ported a reduced lung cancer mortality after the initiation of low dose CT screening [19]. Molecular markers in blood, sputum, and bronchial brushings have been studied but are currently unsuitable for clinical applications [20]. Advances in multidetector Comput- ed Tomography (CT) have made high-resolution volumetric imag- ing possible in a single breath hold at acceptable levels of radia- tion exposure [21]. Several observational studies have shown that low-dose helical CT of the lung detects early-stage cancers more effectively than chest radiography [20]. Scanners that are currently used are technologically more advanced than those that were used in the past. This difference may mean that screening with today’s scanners will result in a further reduction in the rate of death from clinicsofoncology.com 3 Volume 3 Issue 4 -2020 Editorial
  • 4. lung cancer. 3.4 Colorectal Cancer (CRC) Screening: In 2019, the ACS es- timated that 145,600 new cases of CRC will be diagnosed in men and women, and 51,020 men and women will die from this dis- ease [9]. CRC mortality has been declining for the past 2 decades among adults aged 50 years and older, which is largely attributable to the increase in screening and early detection. Among individu- als aged ≥50 years, CRC incidence declined by 32% between 2000 and 2013 [22, 23]. The ACS recommends that: 1) average-risk adults with a life expectancy of greater than 10 years continue CRC screening until the age of 75; and 2) clinicians individualize CRC screening decisions for individuals aged 76 through 85 years, based on patient preferences, life expectancy, health status, and prior screening history. The options for CRC screening are: fe- cal immunochemical test (FIT) annually, high-sensitivity guaiac- based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) annually, multitarget stool DNA test every 3 years, colonoscopy every 5 years, or flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years [24]. The ACS updated its guidelines for CRC screening in 2018. The ACS recommends that adults aged 45 years and older with an average risk of CRC undergo regu- lar screening with either a high-sensitivity, stool-based test or a structural (visual) examination. As part of the screening process, all positive results from non-colonoscopy screening tests should be followed with colonoscopy. 3.5. Recommendations for High-Risk Adults: The ACS recom- mends more intensive surveillance for individuals at higher risk for CRC [25-27]. Those at higher risk for CRC include individu- als with: 1) a history of adenomatous polyps [28]; 2) a history of resection of CRC; 3) a family history of either CRC or advanced adenomas diagnosed in a first-degree relative [29]; 4) the presence of hereditary syndromes (e.g., Lynch syndrome or familial ade- nomatous polyposis); 5) a history of inflammatory bowel disease; 6) a history of abdominal or pelvic radiation [30]; and 7) patients with cystic fibrosis [31]. Adenomatous polyposis account for 2% of all colon cancers. We incorporated a myriad genetic program into CitiScreen, including COLARIS, which detects mutations in the APC and MYH genes. [They gauge] adenomatous polyposis related colon cancer syndromes, including familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), attenuated FAP (AFAP) and MYH-associated polyposis (MAP). COLARIS uses blood or oral rinse sample to detect APC or MYH mutation. 3.6. Benefits of COLARIS AP Testing: The result of the CO- LARIS AP test enable patients to develop an individualized medi- cal management plan to: • Personalize patient care to individuals with APC or MYH gene mutation(s); • Improve outcomes through early diagnosis of cancer; • Counsel patients on the underlying cause of the cancer or adenomas; • Avoid unnecessary interventions involving family mem- bers who do not test positive for the mutation(s); • Differentiate between AFAP, MAP, and Lynch syndrome. 3.7. Endometrial Cancer (EC): EC is the most common type of gynecologic cancer in the United States. In 2007, 61,380 new cases of EC were diagnosed, and 10,920 deaths occurred [32]. In 2008, theAmerican College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) put together a special committee to develop recommendations on the role of transvaginal sonography to evaluate the endometrium in postmenopausal women [33]. An endometrial thickness of 4mm or less has a greater than 99% negative predictive value for EC [33]. In women of reproductive age, in the absence of ovulation, the endometrium is exposed to continuous estrogen, which can lead to endometrial hyperplasia (EH) [34]. If identified in a timely fash- ion, EH can be treated. Complex EH can progress to EC in up to one-fourth of women [35, 36]. Complex EH with atypia can lead to EC in up to one-half of women [37]. The leading risk factors for EH and EC include age, nulliparity, diabetes, and obesity [38, 39]. Among women found to have endometrial polyps, the prevalence of premalignant or malignant polyps was 5.42% in postmenopaus- al women compared with 1.7% in reproductive-aged women. The prevalence of endometrial neoplasia within polyps in women with symptomatic bleeding was 4.15% compared with 2.16% for those without bleeding. Among symptomatic postmenopausal women with endometrial polyps, 4.47% had malignant polyps in com- parison to 1.51% of asymptomatic postmenopausal women [40, 41]. In these cases, an office hysteroscopy can be utilized for EC screening [41]. In 2000, we presented our preliminary results us- ing menstrual blood content to screen for endometrial cancer in menstruating younger women [42]. We concluded that menstrual smears do have diagnostic potential for EC screening in a high-risk population. Although endometrial histology remains the gold stan- dard, cytology may also be helpful for screening purposes [43]. The sensitivity of the endometrial cytology for detecting hyper- plasia/carcinoma was 57% and the specificity was 98%. Although the accuracy of our approach has yet to be established, it may be similar to the guaiac method for colorectal screening [44]. 4. CitiScreen Tumor Markers (TM) Program The topic of TM in cancer screening is confusing and controver- sial. It is known that the presence of a number of malignancies is associated with the appearance of TM in body fluids (blood, urine, saliva, etc.). The main problem with TM is that they have low specificity and may be abnormal in numerous conditions un- related to cancer. Many of the TM appear late in the course of the disease and are used to monitor progress in treatment. CitiScreen incorporates TM into the screening protocols according to the rec- ommendations of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). clinicsofoncology.com 4 Volume 3 Issue 4 -2020 Editorial
  • 5. Several of the TM applicable for cancer detection in women with ovarian cysts/tumors are reflected in table 1. Cancer antigen (ovarian cancer) Carcinoembryonic antigen Inhibit (granulosa cell tumor) Anti-Müllerian hormone (granulosa cell tumor) Estradiol (granulosa cell tumor) Testosterone (Sertoli-Leydig tumor) Androstenedione (Sertoli-Leydig tumor) Dihydroepiandrosterone (Sertoli-Leydig tumor) Alfa-fetoprotein (yolk sac tumor, immature teratoma, mixed germ cell tumor) HCG (choriocarcinoma, embryonal, polyembonal, mixed germ cell tumor) Lactate dehydrogenase (dysgerminoma, yolk sac tumor, immature teratoma, mixed germ cell tumor TM for cancer screening are presented in table 2. Type of Malignancy What is Analyzed TM Breast Cancer Blood BRCA 1 CA 15-3 BRCA 2 CA 27-29 Ovarian Cancer Blood CA 125 HEY Brain Cancer Blood Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) Leukemia Blood BCR-ABL fusion gene Thyroid Cancer Blood Thyroid transcription factor 1 Calcitonin Thyroglobulin Colorectal Cancer Blood CEA Tumor M2-PK Small cell Lung Cancer Blood Neuronspecific enolase (NSE) Neuroblastoma Urine Catecholamines: WMA 2 HVA Colon Cancer, Lung Cancer, Urinary Tract Cancer Blood Carcinoembryonic antigen Recently, a new multi-analyte blood test named CancerSEEK has been introduced to the field of oncology screening [46]. For many adult cancers, it takes 20 to 30 years for incipient neoplastic le- sions to progress to a late-stage disease [46]. CancerSEEK uses combined assays for genetic alterations and protein biomarkers. It has the capacity to not only to identify early cancers, but also to localize the organ of origin of these cancers [45]. On the basis of this DNA analysis, the predicted maximum detection capability of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) varied by tumor type, rang- ing from 60% for liver cancer to 100% for ovarian cancer [45]. CancerSEEK’s algorithm includes a ctDNA mutation followed by elevations of cancer antigen 125 (CA-125), carcinoembryonic an- tigen (CEA), cancer antigen 19-9 (CA-19-9), prolactin (PRL), he- patocyte growth factor (HGF), osteopontin (OPN), myeloperoxi- dase (MPO), and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases 1 (TIMP-1) [45, 46]. The advantage of the combination of protein and genetic biomarkers is the increased sensitivity. The major problem with TM is that they are products of tumor metabolic pathways while the goal of screening is to detect can- cer precursors. The new DETECT test represents a combination of TM with diagnostic PET-CT imaging [47, 49]. The DETECT-A blood test incorporates baseline and confirmation test components that have the potential to detect cancer in many organs. Diagnostic PET-CT is an FDA cleared test that is routinely used to detect tu- mors. A large body of clinical evidence supports its high sensitiv- ity for early-stage cancers [46, 47]. The most commonly elevated protein biomarkers in participants with cancer were CA15-3 and CEA, followed by CA19-9, CA125, and HGF. Elevated levels of some proteins were sometimes found in patients with cancers not usually associated with those markers, (e.g., CEA in a lung cancer clinicsofoncology.com 5 Volume 3 Issue 4 -2020 Editorial
  • 6. and CA19-9 in an ovarian cancer) [50]. The analysis of cfDNA has the advantage of identifying alterations that are specific to the tumor [51]. The application of sequencing has allowed ctDNA-based tumor genotyping, which are present in a variety of cancers [50]. TEC-Seq program assessed the plas- ma specimen in “healthy” individuals (not known to have cancer). Samples were processed within two hours to ensure the collection of cells and cellular debris [51]. TEC-Seq analyses have signifi- cantly reduced the sequencing error rate to fewer than one false positive per 3 million bases pairs. Given the different tumors that could be detected, other diagnostic tests will be needed to comple- ment any positive ctDNA mutations analysis to identify the source of occult lesions [57, 58]. References 1. Wilson JMG, Jungner G. Principles and practice of screening for disease. Geneva: WHO; 1968. Available. 2. AndermannA, Blancquaert I, Beauchamp S, Déry V. Revisiting Wil- son and Jungner in the genomic age: a review of screening criteria over the past 40 years. Bull WHO. 2000, Geneva. 3. Etzioni R, Urban N, Ramsey S, et al. The case for early detection. Nature Reviews Cancer. 2003; 3: 1-10. 4. Evidence-based medicine. BMJ 2004. United Health Foundation. 5. Pepe MS. Phases of biomarker development for early detection of cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2001; 93: 1054-61. 6. Petricoin EF. Use of proteomic patterns in serum to identify ovarian cancer. Lancet. 2002; 359: 572-7. 7. Cronin KA, Weed DL, Connor RJ, Prorok PC. Case-control studies of cancer screening: theory and practice. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1998; 90: 498-504. 8. Weiss NS. Case-control studies of the efficacy of screening for can- cer: can we earn them some respect. J Med Screen. 1997; 4: 57-59. 9. Feuer EJ, Mariotto A, Merrill R. Modeling the impact of the decline in distant stage disease on prostate carcinoma mortality rates. Can- cer. 2002; 95: 870-880. 10. Smith RA, Andrews KS, Brooks D. Cancer screening in the United States, 2019: a review of current American Cancer Society guide- lines and current issues in cancer screening. CA Cancer J Clin. 2019; 69: 184-210. 11. Loud J, Genetics Branch, DCEG, NCI, NIH. Cancer screening and early detection in the 21st century. Semin Oncol Nurs. 2017 May; 33(2): 121-128. 12. Wender RC, Jemal A, Baskies AM, et al. The American Cancer So- ciety challenge goal to reduce US cancer mortality by 50% between 1990 and 2015: results and reflections. CA Cancer J Clin. 2016; 66(5): 359-369. 13. Shieh Y, Hu D, Ma L, et al. Breast cancer risk prediction using a clinical risk model and polygenic risk score. Breast cancer research and treatment. 2016: 159(3): 513-525. 14. Mai PL, Malkin D, Garber JE, et al. Li-Fraimeni syndrome: report of a clinical research workshop and creation of a research consortium. Cancer genetics. 2012; 205(10): 479-487. 15. Kurman RJ. Origin and molecular pathogenesis of ovarian high- grade serous carcinoma. Annals of Oncology. ESMO. 2013; 24(Sup- pl10): x16-21. 16. Jacobs IJ, Menon U, Ryan A, et al. Ovarian cancer screening and mortality in the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screen- ing (UKCTOCS): a randomized controlled trial. Lancet. 2016; 387(10022): 945-956. 17. Moore RG, Maclaughlan S. Current clinical use of biomarkers for epithelial ovarian cancer. Current Opinion Oncology. 2010; 22(5): 492-497. 18. Noone AM, Howlader N, Krapcho M, et al. SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2015. 2018. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. 19. Seigel R, Miller KD, Jemal A. Cancer Statistics. 2019. CA Cancer J Clin. 2019; 69: 7-35. 20. The National Lung Screening Trial Research Team. Reduced lung-cancer mortality with low dose computed tomographic screen- ing. NEJM. 2011; 365(5); 395-409. 21. Doria-Rose VP, Szabo E. Screening and prevention of lung cancer. In: Kernstine KH, Reckamp KL, eds. 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