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Cancer accounts for one in every six deaths worldwide, but early detection can significantly improve outcomes. Existing screening tests have drawbacks, including invasiveness, cost and low levels of accuracy for early stage disease.

Now US researchers have designed a test that analyses proteins in the blood and can pick up 18 early stage cancers, representing all main organs in the human body.

By looking at proteins in blood plasma, the experts were able to differentiate cancer samples from normal ones, and even distinguish between different types of cancers “with high accuracy”.

Blood plasma samples were collected from 440 people diagnosed with 18 different types of cancer, and from 44 healthy blood donors.

The team then identified proteins which showed early stage cancers and where they originated in the body “with high accuracy”.

The team wrote: “At stage I (the earliest cancer stage) and at the specificity of 99%, our panels were able to identify 93% of cancers among males and 84% of cancers among females.

Source: The Guardian