Simple Blood-based Cancer Tests Show Early Promise
The promise of simple, blood-based tests to detect cancers earlier and hopefully improve outcomes took a step closer with two studies, in breast cancer patients and individuals suspected of having a brain tumour, presented at NCRI Cancer Conference 2019. Daniyah Alfattani, a PhD student at the Breast Surgery Division, University of Nottingham, and colleagues studied breast cancer and control blood samples for tumour-associated antigens (TTAs) associated with breast cancer. Combining several of the antigens into a panel, they were able to single out breast cancer cases with a sensitivity of nearly 40% and a specificity approaching 80%. Describing the data as "preliminary", the team says the study "opens the possibility of a blood test for screening and detection of breast cancer"
@ganesh Dr Iain Frame, CEO of NCRI, commented that the results "are promising and build on this research group's expertise in other cancers, such as lung cancer. "It's obviously early days but we look forward to seeing the results from the larger group of patients that are now being investigated." Other experts suggested that the results were perhaps too preliminary to be promising at this stage.