The research, which involved 126 patients with the most common form of lymphoma, found that the blood tests, also known as liquid biopsies, predicted recurrences more than three months before they were detected by CT scans.
The blood tests also helped oncologist identify patients who are unlikely to respond to therapy.
"This could change forever the way we follow up not only response to treatments but also the emergence of resistance, and down the line could even be used for really early diagnosis," according to José Baselga, physician in chief and chief medical officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
During a typical cancer biopsy, a surgeon cuts out a piece of the patient’s tumor, which can be painful and require a hospital visit lasting several hours.
Scientists have, meanwhile, warned against jumping to conclusions, saying that more evaluations of the new method are needed. The past few months have seen budding results in a spate of studies related to the early detection of lung, colon, and blood cancers.