50 Cancer Types Accurately Detected

ctHPV DNA blood test also identifies where cancer originates in the body

cancer word in a newspaper highlighted

Researchers have developed the first blood test that can accurately detect more than 50 types of cancer and identify in which tissue cancer originated, often before there are any clinical signs or symptoms of the disease.

This innovative blood test for circulating tumor human papillomavirus (ctHPV)-DNA had near-perfect accuracy for identifying oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) patients at high risk of recurrence after treatment, according to a prospective study published on March 31, 2020.

In a paper published in Annals of Oncology, show that the test has a 0.7% false-positive rate for cancer detection.

This means that less than 1% of people would be wrongly identified as having cancer. 

As a comparison, about 10% of women are wrongly identified as having cancer in national breast cancer screening programs, although this rate can be higher or lower depending on the number and frequency of screenings and the type of mammogram performed.

The test was able to predict the tissue in which cancer originated in 96% of samples, and it was accurate in 93%.

Senior author of the paper, Dr. Michael Seiden, M.D., Ph.D., President of US Oncology, said in a press release, "Our earlier research showed that the methylation approach outperformed both whole-genome and targeted sequencing in the detection of multiple deadly cancer types across all clinical stages, and in identifying the tissue of origin.” 

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“It also allowed us to identify the most informative regions of the genome, which are now targeted by the refined methylation test that is reported in this paper."

Editor-in-chief of Annals of Oncology, Professor Fabrice André, Director of Research at the Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France, said: "This is a landmark study and a first step toward the development of easy-to-perform screening tools.” 

“Earlier detection of more than 50% of cancers could save millions of lives every year worldwide and could dramatically reduce morbidity induced by aggressive treatments.”

"While numbers are still small, the performance of this new technology is particularly intriguing in pancreatic cancer, for which mortality rates are very high because it is usually diagnosed when it's at an advanced stage."

The study is funded by GRAIL, the maker of the blood test. Researchers are continuing to validate the test in large, prospective studies in the USA (STRIVE and PATHFINDER studies) and the UK (SUMMIT study).

Cancer testing news published by Vax Before Cancer.