Test sheds light on future

A novel blood-based assay demonstrated the ability to detect five cancer types up to 4 years earlier than current screening methods. The noninvasive PanSeer test, which is based on DNA methylation, detected stomach, esophageal, colorectal, lung and liver cancer in 91% of asymptomatic individuals who were diagnosed with cancer 1 to 4 years later using standard detection methods.

The ultimate goal would be performing blood tests like this routinely during annual health checkups,” Kun Zhang, PhD, professor and chair of the department of bioengineering at the University of California, San Diego, said in a press release. “But the immediate focus is to test people at higher risk, based on family history, age or other known risk factors.”