Researchers inch closer to stomach cancer blood tests

Panels of serum biomarkers can be very useful in identifying different types of cancers and suggesting what their risk of progressing might be. However, for gastric adenocarcinoma, the most common type of stomach cancer, there is no serum biomarker that is sensitive or specific enough. Research in South Korea, where the incidence of stomach cancer is high, has found two panels of serum biomarkers that may bring stomach cancer blood tests a step closer.  

The team initially identified 29 biomarkers and used these to screen samples from people with gastric adenocarcinoma and from healthy controls. These results were used to narrow the list of biomarkers down to 13, which were further checked against blood samples. The final set of biomarkers, which included epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), transthyretin, RANTES, and vitronectin, was accurate and sensitive in its detection of gastric adenocarcinoma.

For the diagnosis of suspected gastric adenocarcinoma, people have to undergo invasive investigations, including biopsies. This research is still at a very early stage, but panels of biomarkers might help patients undergoing the first stages of investigation escape the unpleasantness of gastroscopy and instead just have a simple blood test. The panels also could be used to validate and support biopsy findings.

- check out the abstract