Breast Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

NCRI Conference: Ongoing Study of Blood Test for Early Detection of Breast Cancer

By: Joseph Cupolo
Posted: Monday, November 11, 2019

According to new research presented at the 2019 National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, Daniyah Alfattani, PhD candidate, and researchers from Nottingham University’s School of Medicine have found that a simple blood test may detect breast cancer up to 5 years before there are any clinical signs of it. The blood test identifies the body’s immune response to substances produced by tumor cells.

In the study, the researchers compared blood samples from 90 patients with breast cancer with 90 patients without breast cancer. They used a protein microarray to detect the presence of autoantibodies against antigens associated with breast cancer and antigens that were not known to be linked with the disease. According to Ms. Alfattani, “The results of our study showed that breast cancer does induce autoantibodies against panels of specific tumor-associated antigens. We were able to detect cancer with reasonable accuracy by identifying these autoantibodies in the blood.”

In total, the team developed three panels of tumor-associated antigens, which allowed them to screen for autoantibodies that respond to them. The investigators noted that the more tumor-associated antigens present in a panel, the more accurate the blood test results.

The panel featuring five tumor-associated antigens facilitated the correct detection of breast cancer in 29% of the samples from patients with cancer. It also confirmed the lack of breast cancer in 84% of the samples from the control group.

“Once we have improved the accuracy of the test, then it opens the possibility of using a simple blood test to improve early detection of the disease,” Ms. Alfattani said.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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