06:24 GMT +313 December 2019
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    Blood Tests May Replace Cancer Biopsies – Study

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    A new study has shed light on how blood tests could replace biopsies in the early detection of cancer.

    Painful, time-consuming cancer biopsies may give way to simple blood tests in the future, according to a new study published by the US National Cancer Institute.

    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.

    As for the liquid biopsy, it will, among other things, help oncologists to quickly find out whether a treatment is working and continue monitoring if the cancer develops resistance. The blood tests also help patients avoid side effects from failing treatments, prompting doctors to search for alternatives.

    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.

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    Tags:
    detection, study, biopsy, blood tests, cancer
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