The researchers estimate that the cost of this single blood test for eight cancer types may be less than $500, which is comparable to or lower than current screening tests for single cancer types. The study was funded by many foundations, research groups, and grants, while numerous study authors have ties to biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies, as well as patents.
"This has the potential to change the way we screen for cancer and it is based on the same rationale for using combinations of drugs to treat cancers", said Professor Nickolas Papadopoulos, of John Hopkins University in the US.
How accurate was the test?All the tests were done on people already diagnosed with cancer.
Finding out if you have one of eight cancers could someday be as simple as having your blood drawn, thanks to a new test.
Dr. Richard Schilsky, chief medical officer of the oncology society, said results are encouraging, but the test needs more study, especially to see if it gives too many false alarms.
The new blood test works by identifying the markers for 16 gene mutations and eight proteins that are associated with eight different cancer types. A further 812 participants were included in the study who had had no diagnosis of the cancers.
The "liquid biopsy" identifies early-stage tumours from proteins and genetic variations in the blood system.
"This field of early detection is critical, and the results are very exciting".
Doctors and scientists in the U.S. say they have developed a blood test that can identify 8 common types of cancer.
"It has not shown yet whether the blood test has the characteristics required for population screening, nor whether the blood test will improve outcome".
For many cancers, diagnosis is a long and challenging process. Certain cancers seem to be easier to detect than others. "But we don't want people calling up" and asking for the test now, because it's not available, he said.
The blood test could end up saving up to 7,500 live each year in Australia. He went on to say "I think this can have an enormous impact on cancer mortality".
Increasing the number of mutations and proteins being analysed would allow it to test for a wider range of cancers. You'd need a back-up test. Doctors hope that the test can be used along with other test methods like mammograms and colonoscopies. This means people will still have to undergo additional tests. Pancreatic cancer, for instance, is often detected so late that four in five patients die in the year that they are diagnosed.