Case for Testing Cancer in Blood Builds, One Study at a Time

“Two new studies published on Wednesday of patients with breast and prostate cancers add to growing evidence that detecting bits of cancer DNA circulating in the blood can guide patient treatment.

“Enthusiasm is building for ‘liquid biopsies,’ which offer a non-invasive alternative to standard tissue biopsies and are expected to be a multibillion-dollar market.

“But a key question remains: Do they really work?

“The stakes are high. At least 38 companies are working on liquid biopsies for cancer, according to analysts at investment bank PiperJaffray, who think the U.S. market alone could eventually reach $29 billion a year.”


Combined eNose and Sputum Hypermethylation Tests May Help Detect Lung Cancer

“A combination of two non-invasive tests can detect a wide range of lung cancers, a new study suggests.

“Used together, a test for hypermethylation of the RASSF1A biomarker in sputum and an exhaled breath analysis done using the eNose device are complementary for lung cancer diagnosis, showing 100% sensitivity in symptomatic patients, the authors report online June 10 in Journal of Clinical Pathology.

” ‘This is one of the first studies to show that simple non-invasive tests in combination can detect lung cancer with 100% sensitivity, meaning that no lung cancers in this study have been missed,’ wrote Dr. Johann C. Brandes of Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, in an email to Reuters Health.”

” ‘While the combined tests still falsely identify a significant proportion of patients as having lung cancer although they do not have it, this rate may be lower than with chest computed tomography (CT), which is currently the gold standard for lung cancer screening,’ he wrote.

“Although the new finding “exceeds expectations,” it will have to be validated in a larger group of patients, added Dr. Brandes, who was not involved in the study.”


Value of Epigenetic Test for Markers of Prostate Cancer Affirmed in Study

“A commercial test designed to rule out the presence of genetic biomarkers of prostate cancer may be accurate enough to exclude the need for repeat prostate biopsies in many — if not most — men, a new article reports. ‘Often, one biopsy is not enough to definitively rule out prostate cancer, says a study researcher. ‘Our research finds that by looking for the presence or absence of cancer in a different way, we may be able to offer many men peace of mind without putting them through the pain, bleeding and risk of infection that can come with a repeat biopsy.’ “


Melanoma Detection Enhanced with Blood Biomarkers

“The need for invasive skin biopsies could be reduced extensively with Edith Cowan University researchers working on ways to detect melanoma in early stages, using a blood test in conjunction with visual scans.

“A $450,000 National Health and Medical Research Council development grant has enabled them to expand on a 2012 preliminary investigation of 40 people that identified eight blood biomarkers that indicated the early presence of melanoma tumour.

“ECU School of Medical Sciences Professor Mel Ziman conducted the original investigation and is working with PhD student Pauline Zaenker and postdoctoral research fellow Dr Elin Gray on the latest study.”


Electronic Nose Sniffs Out Prostate Cancer

“We may soon be able to make easy and early diagnoses of prostate cancer by smell. Investigators in Finland have established that a novel noninvasive technique can detect prostate cancer using an electronic nose. In a proof of principle study, the eNose successfully discriminated between prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) by ‘sniffing’ urine headspace (the space directly above the urine sample). Results using the eNose are comparable to testing prostate specific antigen (PSA), reports The Journal Of Urology.”


Breath Analysis Offers Non-Invasive Method to Detect Early Lung Cancer

“Researchers are using breath analysis to detect the presence of lung cancer. Preliminary data indicate that this promising noninvasive tool offers the sensitivity of PET scanning, and has almost twice the specificity of PET for distinguishing patients with benign lung disease from those with early stage cancer.”


Sidestepping the Biopsy With New Tools to Spot Cancer

“For people with cancer or suspected cancer, the biopsy is a necessary evil — an uncomfortable and somewhat risky procedure to extract tissue for diagnosis or analysis.

“Lynn Lewis, a breast cancer patient in Brooklyn, has had her cancer analyzed an easier way: simple blood tests that are being called ‘liquid biopsies.’

“Telltale traces of a tumor are often present in the blood. These traces — either intact cancer cells or fragments of tumor DNA — are present in minuscule amounts, but numerous companies are now coming to market with sophisticated tests that can detect and analyze them.”


Sidestepping the Biopsy With New Tools to Spot Cancer

“For people with cancer or suspected cancer, the biopsy is a necessary evil — an uncomfortable and somewhat risky procedure to extract tissue for diagnosis or analysis.

“Lynn Lewis, a breast cancer patient in Brooklyn, has had her cancer analyzed an easier way: simple blood tests that are being called ‘liquid biopsies.’

“Telltale traces of a tumor are often present in the blood. These traces — either intact cancer cells or fragments of tumor DNA — are present in minuscule amounts, but numerous companies are now coming to market with sophisticated tests that can detect and analyze them.”


Sidestepping the Biopsy With New Tools to Spot Cancer

“For people with cancer or suspected cancer, the biopsy is a necessary evil — an uncomfortable and somewhat risky procedure to extract tissue for diagnosis or analysis.

“Lynn Lewis, a breast cancer patient in Brooklyn, has had her cancer analyzed an easier way: simple blood tests that are being called ‘liquid biopsies.’

“Telltale traces of a tumor are often present in the blood. These traces — either intact cancer cells or fragments of tumor DNA — are present in minuscule amounts, but numerous companies are now coming to market with sophisticated tests that can detect and analyze them.”