Toward early detection

Researchers led by Ludwig Johns Hopkins investigator Nickolas Papadopoulos and Co-directors Bert Vogelstein and Ken Kinzler reported in an April paper published online in Science the results of a pioneering study evaluating the feasibility of a liquid biopsy combined with standard screening to detect multiple cancers in the general population. The study enrolled more than 9,900 women who had no evidence or history of cancer and gave them a blood test developed at Ludwig Johns Hopkins named CancerSEEK to look for undiagnosed cancers. Collaborators in the study included Thrive Earlier Detection, a company co-founded by the Ludwig Johns Hopkins team, and researchers at the Geisinger Health System. The liquid biopsy more than doubled the number of cancers detected when added to traditional screening, identifying 26 previously undetected malignancies, of which 65% hadn’t spread far. Adding standard screening to the blood test improved the sensitivity of detecting breast, colon and lung tumors from 47% to 71%. The blood test also detected seven cancers for which screening tests do not exist, such as thyroid, kidney and ovarian cancers, with a sensitivity of 31%. Most identified cancers were localized by diagnostic PET-CT scanning, and twelve could be surgically removed with intent to cure.

This article appeared in the August 2020 issue of Ludwig Link. Click here to download a PDF (2 MB).


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