Imagine a single blood test that would cost less than $500 and could screen for at least eight cancer types.
It’s early days for the technology, called CancerSEEK, but the test had a sensitivity of 69%-98%, depending on the cancer type, and a specificity of 99% in a cohort of 1,005 patients with stage I-III cancers and 850 healthy controls, wrote Joshua D. Cohen of the Ludwig Center for Cancer Genetics and Therapeutics at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and his colleagues. The report was published in Science.
CancerSEEK tests for mutations in 2,001 genomic positions and eight proteins. The researchers examined a 61-amplicon panel with each amplicon analyzing an average of 33 base pairs within a gene. They theorized the test could detect between 41% and 95% of the cancers in the Catalog of Somatic Mutations in Cancer dataset. They next used multiplex-PCR techniques to minimize errors associated with large sequencing and identified protein biomarkers for early stage cancers that may not release detectable ctDNA.
The researchers used the technology to examine blood samples from 1,005 patients with stage I (20%), stage II (49%), or stage III (31%) cancers of the ovary, liver, stomach, pancreas, esophagus, colorectum, lung, or breast prior to undergoing neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Participants had a median age of 64 years (range of 22-93 years). The healthy controls did not have a history of cancer, chronic kidney disease, autoimmune disease, or high-grade dysplasia.