‘Holy grail’ blood test detects cancer years before symptoms show
The test is being called the “holy grail” of cancer research and could “dramatically transform” care.
Ten types of cancer could be detected years before a person falls ill thanks to a new blood test, according to scientists.
The test is being hailed as the “holy grail of cancer research” after a trial of about 1,600 people found it could identify DNA markers with up to 90% accuracy.
It detected genetic traces of multiple cancers, including breast, pancreatic and ovarian, according to the study led by Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, US.
The findings will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ACSO) in Chicago this weekend.
Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive, said the test could “dramatically transform” cancer care.
Dr Eric Klein, lead author of the study, told The Daily Telegraph: “This is potentially the holy grail of cancer research, to find cancers that are currently hard to cure at an earlier stage when they are easier to cure, and we hope this test could save many lives.
“Most cancers are detected at a late stage, but this ‘liquid biopsy’ gives us the opportunity to find them months or years before someone would develop symptoms and be diagnosed.”
A total of 749 people without cancer were examined for the study and 878 who had been newly diagnosed, but not yet treated.
Ovarian cancer was the most positive, with a 90% detection rate, pancreatic was 80% and two thirds of bowel cancer cases were detected, the research found.
It was 77% accurate in diagnosing lymphoma, 73% accurate for myeloma and 80% accurate for liver and gallbladder cancers.
The more aggressive forms of cancers, triple-negative breast, lung, oesophagus, head and neck, were also picked up with more than 50% accuracy.