Now, a blood test that can screen eight cancer types

Now, a blood test that can screen eight cancer types

These include breast, lung, and, as well as five cancers - ovarian, liver, stomach, pancreatic, and esophageal - for which there are now no routine screening tests for people at average risk.

The test was evaluated on 1,005 patients with cancers of the ovary, liver, stomach, pancreas, esophagus, colorectum, lung or breast.

Nickolas Papadopoulos, senior author and professor of oncology and pathology, said: "The use of a combination of selected biomarkers for early detection has the potential to change the way we screen for cancer, and it is based on the same rationale for using combinations of drugs to treat cancers".

The test, whose cost is expected to be up to $ 500 per patient, uses a computer-based learning engineering algorithm to locate the body where the organ that has the cancer is located.

"So the test will still miss a large proportion of cancers at the stage where we want to diagnose them".

CancerSEEK attempts to find mutations in 16 genes that typically arise in cancer and eight proteins that are often released in the bloodstream.

Although encouraging, specialists have said more research needs to be done.

Cancer survival rates are directly linked to how advanced the disease is in a patient during diagnosis, which means that blood tests that can accurately detect the illness well before the symptoms are present is urgently needed.

In terms of specificity, the test yielded an overall result of more than 99 percent. The test was used on 812 healthy controls and produced only seven false-positive results. As to how useful it is in practice, he stressed that "a test need not be flawless to be useful". "The more DNA bases you assay, the more mutations you are capable of finding, but eventually you reach a point of diminishing returns", explains Cohen. The result was a relatively small panel of highly selective DNA markers.

He said it could be a great step towards early detection of the disease and ultimately save lives.

CancerSEEK is noninvasive and can, in principle, be administered by primary care providers at the time of other routine blood work. In fact, pancreatic cancer exhibits so few symptoms and is usually detected when it's nearly too late that four out of five patients die within the year of their diagnosis.

CancerSEEK costs below $500 (N180,000) for a patient, which is nearly the price of a colonoscopy (a process that allows a gastroenterologist to check the inside of a colon), a screening procedure for cancer patients.

Publication: Detection and localization of surgically resectable cancers with a multi-analyte blood test.