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Cancer screening revolution?

A new US-developed blood test could help detect eight common cancers before they spread.

CancerSEEK is a non-invasive test that simultaneously evaluates levels of eight cancer proteins and the presence of cancer gene mutations from circulating DNA in the blood. 

The test screens for eight common cancers that account for more than 60% of cancer deaths. Five of the cancers currently have no screening test.

Nickolas Papadopoulos, senior author, said: “A combination of selected biomarkers for early detection has the potential to change the way we screen for cancer, and is based on the same rationale for using combinations of drugs to treat cancers.”

The investigators explored several hundred genes and 40 protein markers, but whittled them down to segments of 16 genes and eight proteins. They said the molecular test is solely aimed at cancer screening. 

It had greater than 99% specificity for cancer and was evaluated on more than 1,000 patients with nonmetastatic, stages I to III cancers of the ovary, liver, stomach, pancreas, oesophagus, colorectum, lung or breast. 

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