List of Cancer Biomarkers Could Lead to Screening Test

Researchers plan to create an extensive cancer screening test that detects cancer blood biomarkers.

Researchers recently created a list of 788 biomarkers in the blood that can potentially be used to develop a cancer screening test.

The researchers grouped the biomarkers by molecular function and included various technologies that can detect them, according to a study published by EBioMedicine. Included in the study were 4000 previously conducted studies that analyzed blood biomarkers over the last 5 years.

“Because of the sheer number of publications in this field, previous reviews have only been able to look at 1 biomarker or a small group of biomarkers,” said lead researcher, Dr Lesley Uttley, PhD. “Our data mining approach allowed us to take in all relevant research findings from the 5-year period, which meant we could map the full range of potential blood-based biomarkers that are particularly relevant for early detection of cancer.”

Researchers plan to next examine if the research for each specific biomarker is robust, and could be used for a screening test, according to the study. Researchers will also group the biomarkers by cancer type, as well.

Future clinical trials could be conducted among patients with cancer and a healthy control group to see whether the test is effective. If successful, the test will be evaluated in a clinical setting to see if it is effective in the real world, and if it is cost-effective.

“Our expectation is that, once the validation and clinical studies are completed, we will have a suite of around 50 biomarkers, identified using 4 different tests, that can go into the clinical trial. To complete the validation and the trials will take 6 to 8 years, but in theory, we could have a test ready within 3 years for use in high risk groups,” said researcher Ian A Cree, MB, ChB, PhD, FRCPath. “Our vision is that the screen will pick up even the small amounts of these biomarkers that might be in the blood at an early stage of the cancer, without necessarily identifying which cancer they relate to. Patients would then be referred for more specific tests, that could narrow down the tumor type."