Subscribe to the BioNews newsletter for free

Login
Advanced Search

Search for
BioNews

Like the Progress Educational Trust on Facebook




 

Blood test for eight common cancers offers promise

22 January 2018

By Dr Loredana Guglielmi

Appeared in BioNews 934

Scientists have developed a single blood test to detect eight common cancer types and their location of origin within the body.

CancerSEEK is a non-invasive screening test or liquid biopsy aimed at tracking tumour formation and progression from fragments of tumour DNA in the bloodstream. Unlike previous liquid biopsy tests which tend to assess only the presence of circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA), CancerSEEK simultaneously detects cancerous proteins. By using a combination of eight aberrant proteins and 16 ctDNA mutations, the new test is able to identify ovarian, liver, stomach, pancreatic, esophageal, colorectal, lung and breast cancers, which account for 60 percent of the estimated cancer deaths in the US.

'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,' said Dr Nickolas Papadopoulos, at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, who led the study. The research was published in Science.

The test was given to around 1000 patients with non-metastatic cancers. CancerSEEK correctly diagnosed 70 percent of the cases and successfully excluded false positive results with a specificity above 99 percent. However, the performance of the test varied significantly with the type of tumour: it detected 98 percent of ovarian cancers, but only 33 percent of breast cancers. In addition, the test outcomes substantially improved when more advanced cancerous lesions - stage III diseases, were examined.

'This paper is provocative,' Professor Alberto Bardelli, at the Candiolo Cancer Institute in Turin, Italy told Nature News. 'It points to the fact that we should stop looking at a little part of the picture. Instead, we need to see all of the sources of information in the blood.'

CancerSEEK could be potentially administered by primary care providers at the time of other routine blood work, and the researchers estimate that the cost of the test could be less than US$500, comparable with a colonoscopy.

Experts noted some drawbacks of the study. 'This looks promising but with several caveats and a significant amount of further research is needed before we can even contemplate how this might play out in screening settings,' said Dr Mangesh Thorat, deputy director of the Barts Clinical Trials Unit, Queen Mary University of London. 'This is only a case-control study, and therefore needs further evaluation in large cohorts more representative of general population where such screening might be introduced.'

Researchers led by Dr Papadopoulos have begun to address those concerns and have started a new study that will test CancerSEEK in at least 10,000 healthy individuals.

RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE

21 August 2017 - by Dr Loredana Guglielmi 
US researchers have developed a new blood test to detect cancer-related DNA alterations before patients experience symptoms...
26 June 2017 - by Charlotte Spicer 
A new three-in-one blood test could progress personalised treatment for patients with prostate cancer...
02 May 2017 - by Dr Loredana Guglielmi 
Blood tests for tumour DNA could predict relapse of the most common type of lung cancer up to one year before clinical signs show up on patient's scans...
13 March 2017 - by Dr Loredana Guglielmi 
Researchers have developed a new blood test that can not only detect cancer at an early stage, but can also indicate where the tumour is located in the body...
09 November 2015 - by Ayala Ochert 
Scientists say it may be possible to track the progress of cancer – and cancer treatment – in real time from fragments of tumour DNA that are shed into the bloodstream...

HAVE YOUR SAY
Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


- click here to enquire about using this story.

Published by the Progress Educational Trust
Advertise your products and services HERE - click for further details

Good Fundraising Code

Become a Friend of PET HERE and give the Progress Educational Trust a regular donation