Wednesday, 17 July, 2019

'Liquid biopsy': New blood test can detect eight common cancers

'Liquid biopsy': New blood test can detect eight common cancers 'Liquid biopsy': New blood test can detect eight common cancers
Anna Jefferson | 26 January, 2018, 15:50

Researchers have developed a new blood test that can detect eight common types of cancer, including the notoriously elusive liver and pancreatic cancers.

With regard to the five cancers that have no screening tests - ovarian, liver, stomach, pancreatic and esophageal cancers - officials said sensitivity ranged from 69 percent to 98 percent.

An experimental blood test has the potential to locate early-stage cancer more easily.

The test, called CancerSEEK, measures the levels of proteins specific for eight common cancers in the USA, five of which have no current standard screening test, and detects mutations in cancer genes from DNA circulating in the blood.

There are still no effective screening tests for many major tumor types and available tests can each only screen for one cancer at a time, the report said.

"The next steps are to define how positives in this test are followed up for each of the cancers, and then to study this screening test on a group of patients without any symptoms of cancer", Epling, who was not involved in the study, told ConsumerAffairs.

These cancers account for more than 60 percent of cancer deaths in the US, the researchers noted. So patients in a real-life screening likely would have less advanced disease and might be more hard to test.Also, in a real-life scenario, even healthy patients who would be tested could have inflammatory or other diseases that could skew test results, which wasn't seen among the healthy patients in the study.The researchers have moved forward with a follow-up, five-year study to further evaluate the blood test, Papadopoulos said in a teleconference with reporters on Friday.

The test enables researchers to evaluate the levels of specific blood protein markers combined with thousands of DNA markers.

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But one of the most convincing results is the possibility of detecting certain cancers in very early advanced stages.

To precisely determine the optimal number of DNA bases to assess in the CancerSEEK test, the researchers used a method based on diminishing returns. This could either mean that the test has a 1 percent false-positive rate (in other words, it falsely points to cancer 1 percent of the time) or that the individuals do in fact have cancer that has not yet been diagnosed, Cohen said. "The more DNA bases you assay, the more mutations you are capable of finding, but eventually you reach a point of diminishing returns", explains Joshua Cohen.

In its current state, CancerSEEK was better at detecting later stage cancer compared to cancer in earlier stages.

As a result, they included a low but highly representative number of markers of cancerous DNA.

"This test represents the next step in changing the focus of cancer research from late-stage disease to early disease, which I believe will be critical to reducing cancer deaths in the long term", Vogelstein added.

He said: "Detecting cancer early, before the disease has spread is one of the most powerful ways to improve cancer survival and this interesting research is a step towards being able to do this earlier than is now possible".

"Ideally a study like this would be a randomized controlled trial of screening using this test vs".

Larger studies of the test are now underway.

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