New blood test could detect more than 20 types of cancer·      

The breakthrough could be used to improve screening for cancer

 Laura Donnelly, 28 september 2019 • 9:08am

A new blood test could detect more than 20 types of cancer, allowing cases to be identified and treated far earlier.

Experts said the breakthrough - which spots changes in the genes, as disease develops - could be used to improve screening for cancer, allowing treatment much sooner, when it is more likely to succeed.

Crucially, 99.4 per cent cases identified as cancer were correctly spotted - meaning just 0.6 per cent of cases were misdiagnoses of healthy patients.

The test was able to detect one third of patients with stage one disease, and three quarters of those with stage two disease.

Ministers have pledged to speed diagnosis, so that by 2028 three quarters of cancer patients are diagnosed at these two stages. Currently just half of patients can expect to receive a diagnosis before they reach stage three or four.

The advances, by US scientists, look for abnormal patterns of methylation in the DNA, which can indicate different types of cancer.

The study found the new method could even pinpoint the cancer source nearly 90 per cent of the time, including for diseases like ovarian and pancreatic disease, which are some of the most difficult to spot.

Study lead author, Dr Geoffrey Oxnard of Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, part of Harvard Medical School, said: "Our work indicated that methylation-based assays outperform traditional DNA-sequencing approaches to detecting multiple forms of cancer in blood samples.

"The results of the new study demonstrate that such assays are a feasible way of screening people for cancer."

 In the study, researchers analysed cell-free DNA - which enters the bloodstream after becoming detached when its parent cell dies - in more than 3,500 blood samples.

The samples were taken from more than 1,500 cancer patients and more than 2,000 from people without cancer.

The patient samples comprised more than 20 types of cancer, including hormone receptor-negative breast, colorectal, oesophageal, gall bladder, gastric, head and neck, lung, lymphoid leukaemia, multiple myeloma, ovarian, and pancreatic cancer.

The test accurately detected 76 per cent of high mortality cancers.

Within this group, the test accuracy was 32 per cent for patients with stage one cancer; 76 per cent for those with stage two; 85 per cent for stage three; and 93 per cent for stage four.

Dr Oxnard said: "Detecting even a modest percent of common cancers early could translate into many patients who may be able to receive more effective treatment if the test were in wide use."

The research was presented today at the European Society for Medical Oncology Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

Britain is bottom of international league tables for cancer survival, with rates two decades behind some countries for some types of disease.

This week an independent review of NHS cancer screening will warn that “confusion and delays” is costing lives, as it calls for Public Health England to be stripped of responsibility for the service.

Former cancer tsar Prof Sir Mike Richards was asked to examine the system following a series of scandals and a sharp decline in uptake of checks for breast, bowel and cervical disease.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Report: World’s 1st remote brain surgery via 5G network performed in China

Beijing Orders Alibaba To Dump Media Assets That Rival China's Propaganda Machine

Facebook says hackers saw personal info of 14 million people