With a fully funded development program, a blood test could detect breast cancer up to five years before any clinical signs of the disease, according to British researchers.
Doctors at the University of Nottingham's Center of Excellence for Autoimmunity in Cancer (CEAC) took blood samples from 90 breast cancer patients who receive treatments and matched them with samples taken from 90 patients without breast cancer (the control group), in order to assess the immune response to the materials produced by the tumor cells.
The scientists are now testing samples from 800 patients, and expect the test accuracy to improve.
PhD student Daniyah Alfattani, who was in the research group, said: "A blood test for early breast cancer detection would be cost effective, which would be of particular value in low and middle income countries.”
“It would also be an easier screening method to implement compared to current methods, such as mammography.”
According to the World Health Organization, about 1.2 million women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. The disease killed an estimated 627,000 women last year, accounting for 15 percent of all cancer deaths among women, the German news agency reported.