Is a better way to screen for colorectal cancer on the horizon? Elizabeth Tracey reports


A blood test to screen for cancer is something of a Holy Grail, and now a new study describes one for colorectal cancer. Kimmel Cancer Center director William Nelson at Johns Hopkins says while there is still quite a bit of work to do on this test, it is promising.

Nelson: These were adults who were going to undergo colonoscopy to look for colorectal cancer or polyps, and it was a large study that was reasonably representative. They looked in particular at some of the genetic alterations. They also looked at the DNA methylation mark that turns out to be a pretty good way to look for cancer DNA and they looked at fragmentation, any patterns such as also correlated a little bit they were able to detect colorectal cancer when it was there remember they just colonoscopy right afterwards at an 83% sensitivity.                  :31

The colonoscopy confirmed or refuted results from the blood test. Nelson says this strategy isn’t ready for widespread use, but notes that some people find blood tests much more acceptable than stool analysis. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.