A study published in the October 29, 2015, Journal Cancer Cell, revealed that a minimally invasive test for cancer can detect cancer with a 96% accuracy. A "liquid biopsy," one blood drop test identifies the type and location of the cancer with a 71% accuracy. It does this by analyzing the RNA of blood platelets
The co-author of the study, Jonas Nilsson, Ph.D. said, “Being able to detect cancer at an early stage is vital,” The study was conducted at Umeå University, in Umeå, Sweden.
“We have studied how a whole new blood-based method of biopsy can be used to detect cancer, which in the future renders an invasive cell tissue sample unnecessary in diagnosing lung cancer, for instance.”
The participants of the study were 228 patients with localized and metastasized tumors and 55 healthy donors. Each gave blood specimens that were isolated for blood platelets.
They used mRNA sequencing to compare patients’ “tumor-educated” platelets (TEPs) against known mRNA cancer profiles. The test accurately identified the presence of cancer with 96% of the specimens.
The test identified and classified the cancer in 39 patients that had early diagnosis, with 100% accuracy.
The basis of the test is that cancer tumors “educate” blood platelets by altering the platelets’ RNA profile. Therefore when they analyzed the mRNA profiles of tumor-educated platelets, it provided diagnostic information about the tumor’s type and location.
When they used the same method with follow-up experiments the revealed that the test pinpointed the location of primary tumors in the breast, liver, colon, lung, pancreas, brain, and rectum with 71% accuracy.
“In the study, nearly all forms of cancer were identified, which proves that blood-based biopsies have an immense potential to improve early detection of cancer,” Dr. Nilsson said.
The blood specimens were also divided by molecular differences in the type of cancer, which could be beneficial in choosing the path of treatment. The authors of the study predict that if further studies reveal the same results, this one-drop blood test could be used for accurate diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of cancerous tumors.
Source: Journal Cancer Cell, October, 2015
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