Aug. 29, 2006 An international research group is reporting development and early clinical testing of an ultra-sensitive blood test for breast cancer.
Their new immunoassay was 200-1,000 times more sensitive than existing tests, according to a report scheduled for the Aug. 4 issue of the ACS' Journal of Proteome Research.
Jasminka Godovac-Zimmermann, of University College London, headed the group, which included scientists from the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Pittsburgh and BioTraces, Inc. in Herndon, Va.
Tests on 250 breast cancer patients and 95 controls showed that the test had sensitivity and specificity of about 95 percent -- an important consideration in determining the false-positive and false-negative results of a diagnostic test.
Breast cancer originates in so-called epithelial cells, and the researchers cited pilot studies suggesting that the test could work for epithelial cancers. Those include prostate cancer, ovarian cancer and melanoma.
In their report, the researchers cite a need for a more effective way of screening for breast cancer -- especially in younger women for whom mammography is less sensitive.
"Better blood-based testing may aid in early diagnosis, may reduce the need for open biopsy and could provide new modalities for monitoring of therapy," they write.
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