Using this new method for blood-based RNA tests of blood platelets, the researchers were able to identify cancer with 96 percent accuracy.
“Being able to detect cancer at an early stage is vital. We have studied how a whole new blood-based method of biopsy can be used to detect cancer, which in the future renders an invasive cell tissue sample unnecessary in diagnosing lung cancer, for instance,” said study co-author Jonas Nilsson from Umea University in Sweden.
“In the study, nearly all forms of cancer were identified, which proves that blood-based biopsies have an immense potential to improve early detection of cancer,” Nilsson noted.
In the study, the researchers investigated how a new method of blood-based RNA tests of the part of the blood called platelets could be used in detecting and classifying cancer.
The results showed that blood platelets could constitute a complete and easily accessible blood-based source for sampling and hence be used in diagnosing cancer as well as in the choice of treatment method.
Blood samples from 283 individuals were studied of which 228 people had some form of cancer and 55 showed no evidence of cancer.
By comparing the blood samples RNA profiles, the researchers could identify the presence of cancer with an accuracy of 96 percent among patients.
Among the 39 patients in the study in which an early detection of cancer had been made, 100 percent of the cases could be identified and classified.
In follow-up tests using the same method, researchers could identify the origin of tumours with accuracy of 71 percent in patients with diagnosed cancer in the lung, breast, pancreas, brain, liver, colon and rectum.
The study was published in the journal Cancer Cell.