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New blood test accurately detects cancer in patients with early symptoms


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A blood test could help detect cancer in people with nonspecific symptoms.

Enables cancer patients to be identified earlier and help benefit from early access to drugs.

Uses nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, which profiles levels of metabolites in the blood.

Researchers analysed 300 patients with nonspecific but concerning symptoms, such as fatigue and weight loss.

The test correctly detected cancer in 19 out of every 20 of those with the disease.

It cannot yet pinpoint the type of tumour, but this is the ultimate goal.

The test could also distinguish localised or metastatic cancer with 94% accuracy.

“Such information changes how you treat patients,” - James Larkin, involved in this research.

The next step is to confirm the accuracy in 2,000-3000 British patients with nonspecific symptoms, within the next two years.

Data would then be submitted to national regulatory agencies responsible for authorising such tests.

Study by University of Oxford published in Clinical Cancer Research.

Game changer in cancer treatment by improving early access to drugs and thereby survival rates

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Scientific Journal providing information from oncology.


Consultant Medical Oncologist at Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.


Collegiate research university and one of the world's leading universities