Early cancer diagnosis – “Cancer or no cancer?” screening test is best
Best cancer screening method answers first a simple question – is there cancer in the body or not? If answer is “yes”, then more targeted cancer diagnostic tests can be employed. If “No”, it will save a patient potential risks from radiation exposure and invasive testing. Top expert explains:
Cancer rates increase due to worsening environment, due to sedentary lifestyle, and also due to people living longer. But a lot of cancer screening and prevention methods are decades old. Dr. Anton Titov, MD What is new in cancer prevention and screening? It’s true that the incidence of cancer is increasing worldwide, it comes to alarming levels of close to 14 million new cancer cases every year. About two-thirds of them are going to die every year. Dr. Nadir Arber, MD But at the same time there is some improvement and we do see some declining in the mortality from a few cancers, especially lung cancer, colon cancer. So it’s true that usually early cancer detection is lagging behind the novel cancer therapies and rise in cancer incidence. But still we have new things on the horizon Just this year, there were two papers – one from Johns Hopkins from the Burt Vogelstein group, and another one from Australia on blood tests that can detect cancers and several cancers. and in my eyes this is a real breakthrough – if you can find a blood test that can tell us if there is cancer there or not. This could be a breakthrough! We are also developing the same things in our lab using the simple blood tests, you can identify about 6-7-8 cancers, depends on the difference between people with cancer and healthy people. In particular we are happy that we are able to detect some pre-cancers – like colon polyps, and if you are able to detect polyps, then we know whom to aim for to do colonoscopy, because these people are prone to develop colorectal cancer. You are right, we are lagging behind in early cancer detection, but at the same time there is promising new tests. The ultimate cancer detection test is a blood test, and if it can be general, “yes or no for any cancer”, this is the best cancer test – it’s better than having a separate breast, colon cancer tests – because it is complicated. You’re looking for something that is similar to CRP, C-reactive protein, which tells us if there is inflammation or not. If we can have the similar things for cancer presence overall, this is going to be a breakthrough. Eventually we are going to achieve it, and [“is any cancer present?” test] is going to be found sooner than we think… This is very interesting, we are talking about something similar to “liquid biopsy” for people who might already have cancer, but liquid biopsy is looking for circulating tumor cells. Perhaps there will be blood tests that are similar to liquid biopsy, for just screening a general population for certain cancer markers that are present on circulating normal cells or maybe tumor cells detection? Yes, in liquid biopsy, it’s true, we are looking for CTC, circulating tumor cells, but there are also some other molecular cancer markers, we are working on CD24 – we think CD24 is very promising early cancer detection marker, there is some other early cancer markers, most probably there will have to be combinations of a few cancer detection tests. Dr. Nadir Arber, MD But the wisdom is to have one cancer detection test in one test tube, then it’s going to achieve the real impact. – So you think universal cancer detection test will come to the market in the next 5 to 10 years? Dr. Anton Titov, MD – It must be in the next five years! – Next 5 years for a universal cancer detection test?!