An early and correct cancer diagnosis gives patients the best chances for successful treatment.
One step toward an earlier diagnosis could be a new liquid biopsy called CancerSEEK.
CancerSEEK detects cancer from something we do all the time—giving a simple blood sample.
It tests both genetic and protein biomarkers in a patient's blood, which previous studies haven't done. Biomarkers, or biological markers, are in our blood, tissues, and other fluids. They can be tracked by health care providers to show if we have diseases like cancer.
NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., wrote about the new technology, which is supported by NIH, in a recent blog post.
"CancerSEEK was able to detect most cases of eight different kinds of cancer, including some highly lethal forms that currently lack screening tests," Dr. Collins said.
The CancerSEEK trial tested breast, colorectal, esophagus, liver, lung, ovary, pancreas, and stomach cancers. These cancers are common in Western populations, including the U.S.
CancerSEEK detected 70 percent of the cancers tested but had greater sensitivity to later stage cancers—stages 3 and 4.
The next step for CancerSEEK?
Researchers need to see how well the blood test works in detecting cancer in people with no history of the disease. The study tested patients who had already been diagnosed.
The study was funded in part by NIH's National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS).