The test could be a solution to the UK’s ‘massive problem’ of late cancer diagnosis, a doctor said
A blood test has been hailed as a “game-changer” for detecting early-stage 乳腺癌 sooner than mammograms.
About 5ml of blood is drawn for processing to see if circulating tumour cells (CTCs) can be spotted.
Even in tiny amounts, the presence of CTCs in the blood is an accurate sign of a cancerous tumour at its early stages.
Doctors hope that the test will lead to early detection of breast cancer, especially among younger women who are not invited for their first mammogram until the age of 50.
Unlike mammography, which uses X-ray machinery, the Trucheck test can be done with minimal resources.
The test has been found to detect 92 per cent of breast cancers – five per cent more than via mammograms.
For Stage 1 乳腺癌, its accuracy was 89 百分. Even for Stage 0, where pre-cancerous lesions could develop into the disease, it identified 70 per cent of cases.
Its rate of success was found to be higher at later stages of breast cancer, according to the case-controlled study involving blood samples of 9,632 healthy women and another 548 with breast cancer.
It identified 96 per cent of cases where the women had Stage 2 乳腺癌. It also identified 100 per cent of Stage 3 or Stage 4 乳腺癌, which is when tumours have spread elsewhere in the body and there are more CTCs in the blood.
There were no false positives – where a test shows a case of cancer where none actually exists – although another study found a handful. Around one in ten positive mammogram X-rays are false positives.
Breast cancer surgeon Professor Kefah Mokbel, who was involved in the research and works at the London Breast Institute at Princess Grace Hospital, said that the blood test could be a “game-changer” as it “could transform breast cancer screening”.
Dr Tim Crook, of The London Clinic private hospital, which is offering the test to patients, said the test could replace mammograms and potentially be a solution to the “massive problem [的] late diagnosis of cancer in this country”.
He even said that the test could eventually be used to screen for multiple cancers in one person using a single blood sample.
Women in England are invited by the NHS for their first mammogram at the age of 50, and then every three years until 71.
但, 去年, 只是 62 per cent of eligible women – a total of about 1.2 million – had the X-ray. 关于 750,000 did not, partly because the coronavirus pandemic had caused backlogs and delays in NHS services.
The blood test results have been published in the journal Cancers.