WASHINGTON D.C.: Scientists believe a blood test that can detect 50 types of cancer — before the onset of typical signs of the diseases — is accurate enough to be used to screen older people.
The findings were published Thursday of last week in the Annals of Oncology. The new research found that the blood test could detect many cancers with a high level of accuracy among people over 50 years old.
Most promising, scientists said the blood test can detect cancer before any signs or symptoms appear, and displayed a low false-positive rate of only 0.5%.
Scientists ran the blood tests among 2,800 volunteers who have cancer and 1,200 who do not. They said the test accurately identified when cancer was present almost 52 percent of the time.
Created by GRAIL, a California biotechnology company, the test searches out chemical changes that leak from tumors into the bloodstream. Some aggressive cancers, like pancreatic and esophageal, are more likely than others to leak into blood, researchers said.
Dr. Eric Klein, chairman of the Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute at Cleveland Clinic and study author, said that test results indicate “one of the most significant opportunities we have to reduce the burden of cancer,” as quoted by United Press International.
“These data suggest that, if used alongside existing screening tests, the multi-cancer detection test could have a profound impact on how cancer is detected and, ultimately, on public health,” he added.
Further, NHS England, Britain’s national healthcare system, announced it has scheduled a test of the blood screenings this fall. The NHS test will include about 140,000 volunteers, with results expected by 2023.