24th July 2020

Blood test detects cancer up to four years before symptoms

View all Early detection

A new blood test is showing promising results in the early detection of five common types of cancer, including lung cancer, a new study has shown.

The latest research, published in the journal Nature Communications, analysed plasma samples from 605 people who did not have any symptoms of cancer, with 191 then diagnosed with the disease.

Scientists also assessed samples from a further 223 diagnosed cancer patients, as well as 200 primary tumour and normal tissue samples.

They then went on to develop a test, called PanSeer, that was able to detect cancer in 95 per cent of the participants who did not have any symptoms of the disease when samples were collected, and were only diagnosed with cancer later.

Paula Chadwick, chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, comments:

“We know the early detection of lung cancer is key to saving lives. However, often symptoms only show when the cancer has already started to spread denying those the chance of curative-intent treatment. That’s why we always welcome new early detection research.

“This test is still in the early stages of development and we look forward to seeing the results of further testing and, hopefully, clinical trials to fully understand the potential benefit it could have.”

Further large-scale studies are now required to determine the potential of the early detection blood test, but results so far have shown that “cancer can be non-invasively detected up to four years before current standard of care.