Blood test could help screen for eight common cancers

22 January, 2018, 02:26 | Author: Yolanda Murray
  • A Cheap and Easy Blood Test Could Catch Cancer Early

"We selected those eight cancers based on how frequent they are, also [because] a lot of them do not have any screening modality right now", Papadopoulos says.

Earlier detection is key to reducing cancer deaths.

How accurate was the test?

There's little doubt that one day we could have a cancer blood test as part of a regular health check.

Many other efforts are under way to develop blood tests for cancer.

CancerSEEK is different because it combines tests that look for 16 genes and 10 proteins linked to cancer, explained Lennon, of Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore.

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In many cases, the test narrowed the possible origin of the cancer to one or two places, such as colon or lung, important for limiting how much follow-up testing a patient might need.

"The big question is going to be the cost", Gibbs said.

The CancerSEEK test was able to positively detect between 69 and 98 per cent of people who had ovary, liver, stomach, pancreas or oesophagus cancer.

While researchers are excited about the potential life-saving test, they call this work "a first step".

The study, led by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, involved 1,005 patients whose cancer - already pre-diagnosed based on their symptoms - was detected with an accuracy rate of about 70 per cent overall.

The researchers also gave the test to 812 healthy patients and found that only seven of them resulted in a false-positive.

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In addition, CancerSEEK appeared to be more effective at detecting cancer in later stages rather than earlier stages.

For those who test positive twice, the next step will be imaging to find the tumor.

However starting at now, the examination just "lays the applied and reasonable establishment" for a disease screening blood test and considerably more research should be done before such a test could be broadly utilized, the scientists wrote in the investigation. "Optimally, cancers would be detected early enough that they could be cured by surgery alone, but even cancers that are not curable by surgery alone will respond better to systemic therapies when there is less advanced disease". The proposed price tag of $500 for the test is less than for those of other screening methods.

The research was published on Friday in the worldwide journal Science, and also had input from Italian researchers.

According to the researchers, these cancers cause more than 60 percent of cancer deaths in the US. The sensitivity for the earliest stage cancers (Stage I) was highest for liver cancer (100%) and lowest for esophageal cancer (20%).

Joshua Cohen, the lead author of the study, said, "Our ultimate vision is that a person goes to their primary care provider for a routine checkup and at the same time as testing their cholesterol, they have a screening to test for different types of cancer", Forbes reported. "The proportion of common cancers - breast, lung, colorectal - detected is again not as high as other, rarer cancers".

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