Scientists may have found a new method of predicting the likelihood of breast cancer two to five years before it develops.
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have developed a blood test that is able to fairly accurately predict breast cancer up to five years before it shows. It was developed in cooperation with the Danish Cancer Society and the study was published in the journal Metabolomics.
“The method is better than mammography, which can only be used when the disease has already occurred. It is not perfect, but it is truly amazing that we can predict breast cancer years into the future,” said lead researcher Rasmus Bro, a professor of chemometrics in the Department of Food Science at University of Copenhagen.
This new method has a sensitivity of 80%, higher than the 75% of mammography. The method involves analyzing huge amounts of biological data and uses the pattern the data shows to predict cancer. Metabolic blood profiles change when people are in a pre-cancer state, which is what the scientists will be looking for.
The research was done on a population study of 57,000 people followed by the Danish Cancer Society over the span of 20 years. The participants answered questionnaires and gave blood samples.
The researchers examined data from 400 women who were healthy when they were first examined but developed breast cancer after a few years and compared it to 400 women who did not develop breast cancer.
“When huge amount of relevant measurements from individuals is used to assess health risks – here breast cancer – it creates very high quality information. The more measurements our analyses contain, the better the model handles complex problems,” said Bro.
The method needs to be further validated and refined before it can be used for clinical practice, but scientists are optimistic that this new method could create a paradigm shift in early diagnosis of breast cancer and other diseases.
Sources: April 15, 2015. "New blood test can predict future breast cancer". sciencedaily.com April 16, 2015. "Coming This Summer: A Blood Test That Predicts Breast Cancer". yahoo.com April 16, 2015. "Simple blood test for breast cancer could be more accurate than mammograms". telegraph.co.uk