Home pagePress monitoringOxford cancer blood test detects tumors and metastasis early

Oxford cancer blood test detects tumors and metastasis early

Date: 12.1.2022 

Being able to go into a doctor’s office for a routine blood test to check for cancer would save countless lives, so of course the idea has attracted much scientific study. Different tests have searched for different biomarkers associated with cancer, such as elevated levels of certain proteins, DNA mutations, RNA profiles of blood platelets, damage to white blood cells, or DNA methylation patterns.

Kredit: SpicyMilkBoy.The new Oxford test takes a different tack, instead hunting for blood metabolites, small molecules that are produced as a result of metabolic processes. These can be detected using a technique called nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) metabolomics, which examines blood samples using magnetic fields and radio waves.

Healthy people, people with cancer and people with metastatic cancer will all have different profiles of blood metabolites, and the team’s algorithms can determine which profile a patient’s sample fits. Best of all, the test isn’t specific to any one type of cancer.

To analyze how well the test performed, the researchers used it to study samples from 300 patients with non-specific symptoms that can be associated with cancer, such as fatigue or weight loss. The patients were recruited through the Oxfordshire Suspected Cancer (SCAN) pathway.

The team reports that the test was able to detect cancer correctly in 19 out of every 20 patients with the disease, and could identify if it had already metastasized in 94 percent of cases. This makes it the first blood test to be able to detect metastasis even before the primary cancer type is identified.






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