Multicancer blood testing combined with positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) imaging can detect cancers, according to a study published online April 28 in Science to coincide with the virtual annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.
Anne Marie Lennon, M.B.B.Ch., Ph.D., from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, and colleagues examined the feasibility and safety of multicancer blood testing coupled with PET-CT imaging to detect cancer in a prospective study of 10,006 women not previously known to have cancer. A diagnostic PET-CT independently confirmed positive blood tests, which also localized the cancer.
The researchers found that blood testing detected 26 cases of cancer. Fifteen of these cases underwent PET-CT imaging and nine were surgically excised. Standard-of-care screening detected 24 additional cancers and 46 were identified by other means, for a total of 96 cancers diagnosed. Overall, 1 percent of participants underwent PET-CT imaging due to false-positive blood tests; 0.22 percent underwent a futile invasive diagnostic procedure.
“All that we can confidently conclude at present is that a minimally invasive blood test can be safely used to detect several types of cancers in patients not previously known to have cancer, enabling treatment with intent to cure in at least a subset of individuals,” the authors write. “This advance will facilitate future randomized, interventional trials to assess the ability of minimally-invasive blood tests to improve the effectiveness of cancer screening.”
Several authors disclosed ties to the biotechnology industry.