Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in industrial countries: about 30 percent cases. If found at an early stage, patient survival expectations increase to 95 per cent.
A new test could be very important for early detection. He is likely to go on the market this year, according to researchers at Heidelberg University. The blood test could diagnose breast cancer as well as mammogram (breast x-ray), ultrasound, or MRI scan.
The new test does not replace the traditional diagnosis
However, the test would not replace traditional diagnostic methods, scientists explain, but it would help to find out breast cancer earlier and more reliable.
The team led by Professor Christoph Sohn, from Heidelberg Gynecological University Clinic, presented the new blood test on 21 February during the German Academy of Gynecology Training, in Düsseldorf.
Liquid biopsy also detects other types of cancer
The basis of this blood test is a "liquid biopsy" method, not a newcomer, and a group of researchers from Great Britain, Denmark, Poland, the Netherlands and Spain published a study in November 2018 where it was introduced The multiple possibilities of detecting cancer through blood samples With the fluid biopsy can identify up to eight different types of cancer, although the percentage of the correct answers is still quite low: only one out of three cancers which could be known. Breast cancer This result, compared to mammogram, is not inadequate, as it reaches a percentage of correct answers of around 78 percent.
Improve the choice of biological marks
Heidelberg scientists succeeded in continuing to develop the fluid biopsy in particular to identify breast cancer and reach 75 per cent sensitivity.
To do that, doctors focused on 15 biological marks, transferring substances that exist in cancer cells that are present in the blood. For the study, a few filters of blood are adequate, and the analysis could be carried out at the doctor's office during a routine examination.
The test could be useful, especially for women over 50 who are considered at risk because their mother or grandmother is suffering from breast cancer. In these cases, the proportion of correct answers raises up to 80 or 90 percent.
What is older is the patient, the more accurate the outcome will be. In women under 50, the sensitivity of the test is reduced to 60 per cent. The age is 50, in Germany, social work or health boxes start paying mammography as a cancer prevention study, and both analyzes complement each other.
The test may also find non-visible tumors on mammogram when tissue and breast are too thick. In addition, it is stated in patients who, for health reasons, can not have mammograms, when the breasts are crushed for a better image. On the other hand, the magnetic resonance of the disadvantage has a great deal of x-rays.
Beneficial not only for breast cancer
The researchers are confident that the test could already be available for sale in 2019. Its optimism is supported by these well-known cohort studies, where individuals are being followed for a specific time to observe their offense. In the past twelve months, they study more than 900 women, with 500 of them being breast cancer patients. The study continues to last and will include 2,000 patients.
Now, scientists are hoping to find other cancers, such as ovaries, with a more refined liquid biopsy. This, in the future, could also be able to indicate the formation of metastasis or resumption, that is, a regular appearance of tumors. The method could even help monitor the chemotherapy and drug success that is done, to be designed according to the needs of each patient.