New blood test can detect five types of cancer up to four years ahead of conventional diagnostic methods. Although verifications are necessary before considering large-scale use, it shows great promise for detecting cancers at an early stage, and thus treating them more effectively.
Screening for cancers at an early stage to improve the effectiveness of treatments
While there are currently a few cancer-specific blood biomarkers that help doctors identify new cases, the majority of cancer types have no early detection tools. This is why many researchers are currently redoubling their efforts to develop methods for diagnosing the disease through the blood that are both simple and reliable.
In recent years, the most promising type of blood test developed for cancer screening has been to look for signs ofTumor DNA circulating in a person’s blood. Developed by researchers fromuniversity of california, whose work was recently presented in the journal Nature Communications, this new test, called ” PanSeer Works by detecting DNA methylation patterns known to be associated with abnormal mutations leading to cancer.
In order to study the extent to which the test PanSeer could detect cancers before conventional diagnostic methods, the researchers looked at a unique data set known asTaizhou longitudinal study.
It had followed more than 100,000 subjects for a decade, through the collection of blood samples and regular examinations to assess the general state of health of the participants. Using this data set, the American researchers were able to put their test to the test by comparing it with samples from subjects who had developed cancer years after their collection.
A blood test that is more than 90% reliable
The test was found to be 91% effective at detecting cancer in people one to four years before the disease was actually diagnosed, and to work for five types of cancer (stomach, esophagus, colorectal , lung and liver). The research team, however, recalling that the test PanSeer does not detect risk factors for future cancers, but rather identifies traces of cancerous tumors at an extremely early stage, when the patient still has no symptoms.
According to Kun Zhang, lead author of the study, these promising results suggest that this type of test could in the future be integrated into examinations and other general health checks. The idea obviously remains to detect cancers at their earliest stage, which would greatly improve the effectiveness of treatments.
« The ultimate goal would be to perform such blood tests on a systematic basis during annual check-ups. », Explains the researcher. ” In the shorter term, the goal would be to test those at high risk, based on their family history, age, or other known risk factors.. »
It should be noted, however, that the test has certain limitations. This in fact only detects blood abnormalities, which implies carrying out additional tests and close monitoring in order to precisely determine the form of cancer and the location of the tumor cells. In the future, the team plans to conduct larger trials, which will help ensure the validity of the test and pave the way for its clinical use.