Blood tests show promise in early detection of multicancer

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Early detection of cancer is crucial for successful treatment and improved outcomes.

A recent study published in The Lancet examines the feasibility of using multicancer early detection (MCED) blood tests as a potential tool for cancer screening in adults aged 50 and older who do not exhibit cancer symptoms.

Multicancer early detection (MCED) tests are designed to identify various types of cancer in the early stages, even before symptoms become apparent.

These tests have the potential to revolutionize cancer screening and improve survival rates.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, involved a prospective cohort of 6,662 participants aged 50 years or older.

These individuals did not display any signs or symptoms of cancer. Recruitment took place between December 12, 2019, and December 4, 2020, with 6,621 participants providing analyzable results.

Key Findings: Feasibility of MCED Testing

The researchers found that 1.4% of participants with analyzable results exhibited a cancer signal through MCED testing. Among these, 38% were subsequently diagnosed with cancer (true positives), while 62% received no cancer diagnosis (false positives).

The median time to diagnostic resolution was 79 days, with true-positive participants having a shorter resolution time (57 days) compared to false-positive participants (162 days).

The majority of participants underwent additional diagnostic procedures, including laboratory tests (79% for true positives and 88% for false positives) and imaging (91% for true positives and 93% for false positives).

Notably, participants with false-positive results underwent fewer procedures compared to those with true-positive results (30 procedures versus 82 procedures).

Conclusion: Clinical Feasibility and Future Research

The study establishes the clinical feasibility of using MCED blood tests for cancer screening. However, the true clinical utility and the impact on cancer mortality require further investigation through larger-scale studies.

While MCED testing shows promise in detecting cancer early, its effectiveness in improving patient outcomes and reducing cancer-related deaths will be a focus of future research.

In summary, this study demonstrates the potential of MCED blood tests as a feasible tool for early cancer detection, offering hope for more effective cancer screening and improved survival rates. Further research will be essential to fully understand their clinical utility.

The research findings can be found in The Lancet.

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