New Blood Test Can Predict Future Breast Cancer

 The analysis of a blood sample could predict if a woman will get breast cancer within two to five years which could create a paradigm shift in early diagnosis of this malignant neoplasm as well as other diseases.

The method, called a metabolic blood profile is still in the early stages but over time the experts expect it could be used to predict breast cancer and more generally to predict chronic disease and the new method will lead to better prevention and early treatment of the disease. 

Scientists at the University of Copenhagen (Frederiksberg, Denmark) used 20-year-old blood samples and other available data from 400 women who were healthy when they were first examined but who were diagnosed with breast cancer two to seven years after providing the first sample, and from 400 women who did not develop breast cancer. The team analyzed all compounds contained in the blood sample, instead of as is often done in health and medical science, examining what a single biomarker means in relation to a specific disease.

The plasma samples were analyzed by proton Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (1H NMR). NMR analysis was performed with a Bruker Avance III 600 spectrometer (Bruker Biospin Gmbh; Rheinstetten, Germany). The NMR spectra were subjectively evaluated by spectroscopists and data analysts in order to exclude as many noise regions from the data as possible and to include all peaks in the most parsimonious manner. The spectroscopists and data analysts were blinded to the case/control status.

While a mammography can detect newly developed breast cancer with a sensitivity of 75% the new metabolic blood profile is able to predict the likelihood of a woman developing breast cancer within the next two to five years with a sensitivity of 80%. The method was also used to test a different dataset of women examined in 1997. Predictions based on the new set of data matched the first dataset, which indicated the validity of the model.

Lars Ove Dragsted, PhD, a professor and senior author of the study said, “The potential is that we can detect a disease like breast cancer much earlier than today. This is important as it is easier to treat if you discover it early. In the long term, it will probably also be possible to use similar models to predict other diseases.” The study was published on March 10, 2015, in the journal Metabolomics. 



By Labmedica International staff writers