Soon, a simple blood test could be used to detect cancer

Researchers report high accuracy even before appearance of symptoms


Soon, a simple, inexpensive blood test could be all that is required to reliably detect and diagnose cancer, even before any symptoms appear.

A team of scientists from India, the US and the UK have developed a novel method to detect clusters of cancer cells in the blood through a simple test. The clinical evidence for this ‘innovative’ test has been published by the scientists.

“This is the first study of its kind to investigate the prevalence of circulating tumour emboli, or C-ETACs (Circulating Ensembles of Tumor Associated Cells), in over 16,000 participants, to establish the definitive new systemic hallmark of cancer,” Dadasaheb Akolkar, the principal author of the study and Research Director at Datar Cancer Genetics, said in a release.

Rajan Datar, Chairman and Managing Director, Datar Cancer Genetics, said: “Cancer deaths are mainly because of late detection. We believe that this innovative blood-based test is a breakthrough in cancer screening and will impact outcomes through easy, patient-friendly detection and diagnosis in apparently healthy people who may have a silent malignancy in their bodies.” It has the potential to eliminate the need for invasive biopsies and the risks associated with it, he added.

More than 94% accuracy

The study involved 16,134 participants, including 5,509 with cancer (TrueBlood study) and 10,625 with no symptoms (Resolute study). The test showed an accuracy of more than 94 per cent. The C-ETACs were seen in 89.8 per cent of the cancer cases and in only 3 per cent of the apparently healthy, asymptomatic individuals who had no abnormal findings in presently used screening tests.

Speaking to BusinessLine, Vineet Datta, Executive Director, Datar Cancer Genetics, said the test could be used to detect all major variants of cancer including of the breast and the lung. It is likely to be available commercially soon.