Monday, 16 April 2012

New test detects cancer recurrence earlier than scans

Scientists have developed a new blood test that warns about the recurrence of treated breast cancer almost a year earlier than CT scans.

Scientists at Purdue University in Indiana and Matrix-Bio company have built up a test that can detect blood levels of some specific biomarkers which increase in the early stages of breast cancer return.

“We have identified a group of nine of these biomarkers that signal recurrence of breast cancer,” said senior researcher Daniel Raftery whose study was presented at a conference of the American Chemical Society.

Breast cancer recurrence is a major concern for doctors and their patients who have been successfully treated. The disease has a one in five chance to return within 10 years.

As early detection of cancer return has a significant effect on the retreatment success, researchers are looking for more sensitive, specific and cheaper methods for following up treated patients.

The primary trails involving the new blood test found it successful in providing early warnings for half of the breast cancer recurrences, wrote researchers who hope to improve the technique to take the number up to three quarters.

The new test also detects breast cancer return about 11 to 12 months sooner than existing tests such as CT scans causing less discomfort compared with biopsies.

Researchers hope to provide the test for public use in a year, but further investigations with more patients are needed to support its efficacy.



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