A blood test could detect liver cancer, a study has found.
- Each year, more than 800,000 people are diagnosed with liver cancer worldwide, and it is one of the leading causes of cancer death worldwide, according to the American Cancer Society.
- 400 million people worldwide have a higher risk of developing hepatocellular cancer according to a global analysis of the burden of liver disease (J. Hepatology, 2019).
Over 80% success in detecting liver cancer with a new blood test. This is the result that researchers obtained during their clinical trial. Their study has just been published in the journal CancerDiscovery.
Blood test examines DNA fragments to screen for cancer
The blood test, called DELFI, had already been proven for lung cancer according to a 2021 study. Now scientists have decided to test it for liver cancer. Concretely, it identifies the presence of cancer by examining millions of DNA fragments.
To carry out their work, the researchers used this technology on blood plasma samples obtained from 724 people in the United States, the European Union and Hong Kong. The aim was to detect hepatocellular cancer (HCC), a type of liver cancer.
More than 80% of cancers detected
DELFI technology has detected liver cancers at their earliest stages. In detail, thanks to this device, more than 80% of cancers have been detected. “This new blood test can double the number of liver cancer cases detected, compared to the standard blood test available, and increase the early detection of cancer“said Amy Kim, assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and co-lead author of the study.
Currently a blood test, or liver function test, can highlight any inflammation and measure the level of AFP in the blood. AFP, or alpha-fetoprotein, is a protein synthesized by certain liver tumors indicates theCurie Institute : “The blood test also aims to measure prothrombin and albumin. An insufficient level of these proteins naturally produced by the liver may be a sign of dysfunction“.
Breast cancer benefits from blood test technology
Liver cancer is not the only one affected by this type of advance. A blood test was also designed to detect the risk of breast cancer relapses by identifying tumor DNA in the blood.
The test could detect signs of the disease returning years before a CT scan does and save lives:”By quickly identifying women whose cancer threatens to come back, doctors can offer them targeted treatment that, in some cases, can prevent the cancer from coming back.”, can we read in the DailyMail.
This is all the more vital because a breast cancer that has remained dormant in the body can come back to another part, such as the brain, liver or lungs, and become incurable.