Cancerous cells are normally detected by biopsy which is an invasive and time consuming procedure. The costs of a biopsy are very high; results presented in 2014 at the Chicago Multidisciplinary Symposium in Thoracic Oncology show that one biopsy costs on average $14,634 per patient. Besides this biopsy may be a risky procedure.
Researchers from Royal Brompton Hospital and the UK’s National Heart and Lung Institute (NHLI), at Imperial College London, recently presented promising results using a newly developed blood test for detecting cancer cells at the annual World Conference on Lung Cancer in Colorado. The study involved 223 patients with known or suspected primary or secondary lung cancer who were about to undergo surgery. The researchers didn’t know whether the cancer was confirmed or not. The presence of the cancer cells was accurately diagnosed in almost 70% of lung cancer cases.
The new blood test detects three common cancer-specific gene mutations in the blood that contains DNA released from dead cancer cells. Even though certain gene patterns are specific to cancer, they vary according to cancer types. However, researchers expect similar tests to be useful for lung and colorectal cancer as they have similar gene patterns. In the study the researchers also compared the genetic abnormalities found in the blood with samples from tissue and found out that they match.
Can a newly developed blood test replace biopsy as the gold standard for detecting cancer?
A new noninvasive blood test is currently not yet seen as an alternative to biopsy as the test does not entirely rule out the presence of cancer cells. Despite the 30% of false negative results, the test shows great improvement for the future diagnostics of cancer. It provides results within days and this way considerably improves patients experience and due to early diagnosis and treatment also increases chances for survival. It also decreases costs per patient and reduces the pressure on health care providers.
Source: Medical News Today
By Katarina Kovac, PhD, BioSistemika LLC