HealthDay News — A noninvasive blood test based on circulating tumor DNA methylation can detect cancer 4 years before conventional diagnosis, according to a study published online July 21 in Nature Communications.

Xingdong Chen, from Fudan University in China, and colleagues reported preliminary results of PanSeer, a noninvasive blood test based on circulating tumor DNA methylation, on samples from 605 asymptomatic individuals from the Taizhou Longitudinal Study, 191 of whom were diagnosed with stomach, esophageal, colorectal, lung, or liver cancer within 4 years. Plasma samples from an additional 223 cancer patients and 200 primary tumor and normal tissues were also assayed.

The researchers found that 5 common types of cancer were detected with PanSeer in 88% of postdiagnosis patients with a specificity of 96%. In 95% of asymptomatic individuals who were later diagnosed, PanSeer also detected cancer; longitudinal studies are needed to confirm this result.

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“The PanSeer assay provides a preliminary demonstration of early detection of multiple cancer types four years prior to conventional diagnosis in a robust manner, and lays the foundation for a noninvasive blood test for early detection of cancer in a high-risk (or average-risk in the future) population,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to Singlera Genomics; several authors are inventors on a patent held by Singlera Genomics.

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