There is possibility of a new genetic test for early detection of cancer.
Lead researcher Dr. Victor Velculescu at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, Baltimore has show promising results in this.
A new genetic blood test might pave the way for detecting early stage cancer. The test scans blood for DNA fragments released by cancerous tumors, explained lead researcher Dr. Victor Velculescu.
By reviewing these DNA fragments for mutations found in 58 “cancer-driver” genes, the blood test detects many early stage cancers without rendering false positives for healthy people, said Velculescu, co-director of cancer biology at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, in Baltimore.
The test also proved capable of screening out cancer-free people.
This may be one step further down the path to developing a blood test that might find cancer earlier.
The test specifically spotted early stage colon cancer 71 percent of the time, breast and lung cancer 59 percent of the time, and ovarian cancer 68 percent of the time.
The ability to catch early stage ovarian cancer is particularly important as fewer than one in five ovarian cancers are caught early, when the five-year survival rate is greater than 90 percent. Most are detected after they’ve spread, and by then the odds of five-year survival are 40 percent or less, he said.
To check the blood test’s ability to weed out healthy people, the researchers also analyzed blood from 44 volunteers without cancer. No false positives occurred.
Despite these promising results, researchers need to validate the blood test in larger studies. More work also needs to be done to improve the detection rate.