Developing novel diagnostic tools to identify endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a health condition that impacts 10% of women, that's roughly 176 million women worldwide. In endometriosis, the tissue that lines the womb begins to grow on the ovaries, bowels, or fallopian tubes. This endometrial tissue grows and breaks down during the normal menstrual cycle. When the endometrial tissue breaks down, it bleeds, causing scar tissue to form, inflammation, and horrendous pain.
The symptoms of endometriosis can include:
Problems with conceiving
The current endometriosis diagnostics are lacking. Apparently, it takes on average 7.5 years from the first appointment to get diagnosed with endometriosis. There is a great need to improve endometriosis diagnostic tools to reduce the time it takes to diagnose and subsequently treat the patients as endometriosis can significantly impact daily activities.
The current tools used to diagnose endometriosis are laparoscopy, ultrasound, or in rare cases, an MRI.
❌ Laparoscopy - is the main tool used to diagnose endometriosis. It is a highly invasive procedure that some women may not be able to undergo.
❌ Ultrasound - is less invasive, but an ultrasound cannot pick up small endometrial lesions, only the large ones.
❌ MRI - is not widely used because it's expensive.
A comprehensive blood test that can diagnose endometriosis and distinguish between the different endometriosis stages without requiring a laparoscopy.
The potential biomarkers we could include in the endometriosis blood test:
CA-125 - ⬆️ High CA-125 levels were reported in endometriosis patients.
BDNF - ⬆️ High BDNF levels in endometriosis patients. Plasma BDNF levels correlate with pain severity.
MicroRNA - ⬆️ 4 microRNA levels were increased: miR-125b-5p, miR-150-5p, miR-342-3p, and miR-451a. ⬇️ 2 microRNA levels were reduced: miR-3613-5p and let-7b in endometriosis patients.
Leptin - ⬆️ High Leptin levels in endometriosis patients compared with controls. Furthermore, Leptin levels increased with clinical staging. Therefore, Leptin can be used to determine the severity of endometriosis.
Can you think of any other biomarkers for the endometriosis blood test? What do you think about the idea?
Karimi-Zarchi, Mojgan, et al. "Correlation of CA-125 serum level and clinico-pathological characteristic of patients with endometriosis." International Journal of Reproductive BioMedicine 14.11 (2016): 713.
Perricos, Alexandra, et al. "Increased serum levels of mBDNF in women with minimal and mild endometriosis have no predictive power for the disease." Experimental Biology and Medicine 243.1 (2018): 50-56.
Moustafa, Sarah, et al. "Accurate diagnosis of endometriosis using serum microRNAs." American journal of obstetrics and gynecology 223.4 (2020): 557-e1.
Hussein, Shatha Sami, Fatin Shallal Farhan, and Alaa Ibrahim Ali. "Serum Leptin as a Marker for Severity of Endometriosis." Obstetrics and Gynecology International 2020 (2020).