The new test determines not only the presence of a tumor but also localization in body tissues. It is a breakthrough in cancer diagnosis for hundreds of thousands of patients who are currently unable to receive a final diagnosis. The high sensitivity of the test for many types of cancer in the early stages will allow for accurate mass screening and much more effective treatment of cancer.
An international team of scientists led by the American team from the Dana Farber Cancer Research Institute and the Mayo Clinic presented a test to diagnose more than 50 types of cancer by simple blood analysis. The test indicates the presence or absence of cancer with 99% accuracy and also knows how to determine the location of the tumor in the body.
The new test covers all the most common types of tumours who are without informative screening tools.
Early diagnosis of cancer largely determines the prognosis for the disease and for some types of tumors is the key to winning the disease.
The test is based on the analysis of methyl groups in the DNA of malignant cells that are released into the bloodstream. By sticking to certain DNA sites, methyl groups help control the activity or “shutdown” of genes and methylation patterns in cancer cells are often markedly different from those in healthy cells.
The new test was tested on 6,689 blood samples where 2,482 people had different types of cancer in their anamnesis and 4,207 volunteers were healthy.
The specificity of the test was 99.3%. This means that only in 0.7% of cases the test incorrectly indicated a tumor.
The test precisely indicated the organ or tissue where the tumor was located in 90% of cases if cancer was detected. The sensitivity of the test varies according to the stage of the disease but the results are still very informative for doctors.
“The specificity and sensitivity of the test is close to the level required for screening at the population level, leading author of the study Jeffrey Oxnardstressed noticed the importance of the achievements.
The scientists continue clinical research and intend to conduct tests in a new group of volunteers which should be more than 6 thousand people.
Blood contains a large number of biomarkers which individually or in a specific combination may indicate the development of certain diseases. Tests for tuberculosis, cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease risks have recently been developed on this principle.