Five common cancers could get detected up to 4 years before conventional diagnosis: Study

Updated on Jul 22, 2020 01:04 PM IST

The five cancer types studied in the research account for 261,530 annual cancer deaths in the US and 2.1 million cancer deaths every year in China, the study said, adding that early detection could greatly reduce deaths from these diseases.

File photo.(Pixabay)
File photo.(Pixabay)
Hindustan Times, Beijing | BySutirtho Patranobis | Edited by Sparshita Saxena

A non-invasive blood test could prove key in detecting five common cancers up to four years before conventional diagnosis, a new international clinical study conducted in China says.

The long-term study, the findings of which were published in Nature Communications on June 21, a leading science journal, was carried out on 123,115 individuals in Taizhou city in eastern China’s Jiangsu province.

As part of the Taizhou Longitudinal Study (TZL), the individuals, aged between 25 and 90, provided blood samples for long-term storage between 2007 and 2014. The samples were collected by the Shanghai-based Fudan University.

“These individuals were then indefinitely monitored for cancer occurrence through linkages with local cancer registries and health insurance databases. By the end of 2017, a total of 575 initially healthy subjects (who presented as asymptomatic) were diagnosed with one of five common cancer types (stomach, esophagus, colorectum, lung or liver) within 4 years of initial blood draw,” the study said.

Also read: Breast Cancer Awareness - All you need to know about the disease, its symptoms and more

The five cancer types studied in the research account for 261,530 annual cancer deaths in the US and 2.1 million cancer deaths every year in China, the study said, adding that early detection could greatly reduce deaths from these diseases.

“Recent studies have also identified that early detection of cancer could reduce cancer treatment costs by $26 billion annually (and also reduce the loss of productivity caused by cancer),” it said.

“The ultimate goal would be performing blood tests like this routinely during annual health checkups,” said Zhang Kun, one of the paper’s corresponding authors and professor and chair of the Department of Bioengineering at the University of California, San Diego.

“But the immediate focus is to test people at higher risk based on family history, age or other known risk factors,” Zhang was quoted by the University of California which was involved in the study.

The researchers said early diagnosis of cancer was the aim of the study as late-stage cancers often lack an effective treatment option.

“Survival rates increase significantly when cancer is identified at early stages as the tumour can be surgically removed or treated with milder drug regimens; average 5-year survival at early stage is 91%, while average 5-year survival at late stage is 26%,” the study said.

The detection of tumours at the earliest possible stage is therefore of paramount importance for cancer treatment. The test, which has been named the PanSeer assay, however, is unlikely to predict which patients will later go on to develop cancer.

Instead, it is most likely identifying patients who already have cancerous growths but remain asymptomatic for current detection methods, the study said.

In conclusion, the research team said that more large-scale longitudinal studies were needed to confirm the potential of the test for the early detection of cancer in pre-diagnosis individuals.

“We also demonstrate that PanSeer detects cancer in 95%... of asymptomatic individuals who were later diagnosed, though future longitudinal studies are required to confirm this result. These results demonstrate that cancer can be non-invasively detected up to four years before the current standard of care,” it said.

The team, according to the University of California, comprised researchers from “…Fudan University and at Singlera Genomics, a San Diego and Shanghai-based startup that is working to commercialise the tests based on the advances originally made in Zhang’s bioengineering lab at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering”.

Get Latest World Newsalong with Latest Newsfrom Indiaat Hindustan Times.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
My Offers
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, December 03, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Register Free and get Exciting Deals