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Non-invasive blood test detects cancer 4 years before standard diagnosis

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A non-invasive blood test was able to detect if a person had cancer 4 years before diagnosis with standard methods, according to a new study.

The PanSeer test was able to detect stomach, esophageal, colorectal, lung, and liver cancer.

In the Taizhou Longitudinal Study, blood samples from asymptomatic patients who had not yet been diagnosed, were collected. The blood test was used on plasma samples from 605 individuals, 191 of who within 4 years of the blood draw were diagnosed with 1 of the 5 cancers.

The test detected cancer in 91% of the samples from individuals who were later diagnosed with stomach, esophageal, colorectal, lung, and liver cancer. The test also detected cancer in 88% of samples from 113 patients who were already diagnosed with cancer at the time samples were collected.

“We would like to emphasize that the PanSeer assay is likely not predicting patients that will later develop cancer,” the authors wrote. “Instead, the assay is most likely identifying patients who already have cancerous growths but who remain asymptomatic to current detection methods and standard of care, as many cancers do not cause the appearance of symptoms until late in disease development.”


Chen X, Gole J, Gore A, et al. Non-invasive early detection of cancer four years before conventional diagnosis using a blood test. Nat Commun. 2020;11,3475: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-17316-z