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Groundwork laid for early detection of cancers with universal blood test

A study has laid the foundations for a universal blood test that could result in the earlier detection of various types of cancer, researchers say


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A study has laid the foundations for a universal blood test that could result in the earlier detection of cancer, researchers say.

The researchers, from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in the US, applied a test called CancerSEEK to 1,005 patients with non-metastatic, clinically detected cancers.

Less than £360

The estimated cost of a CancerSEEK test is less than £360, comparable to or lower than other screening tests for single cancers. Source: Science

They included cancers of the ovary, liver, stomach, pancreas, oesophagus, colorectum, lung and breast.

There are currently no screening tests available for average-risk individuals for cancer of the ovary, liver, stomach, pancreas and oesophagus, they say.

CancerSEEK tests were positive in a median of 70% of the eight cancer types. It detected cancer through assessment of the levels of circulating proteins and mutations in cell-free DNA.

The test also narrowed the origin of the cancer to two possible sites in about 80% of patients.

The study authors say that to establish the clinical utility of CancerSEEK and demonstrate that it can save lives, prospective studies of all incident cancer types in a large population are needed.

They have already started a further study to see if the test can pick up tumours in women who have never had cancer.


Cohen J et al (2018) Detection and localization of surgically resectable cancers with a multi-analyte blood test. Science. doi: 10.1126/science.aar3247

 

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