Geisinger physicians use blood test to diagnose cancer in patients without symptoms

Researchers at Danville, Pa.-based Geisinger have successfully used a blood test to diagnose presymptomatic cancer patients for the first time, according to a study published in Science.

The CancerSEEK blood test, developed by scientists at Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University, screens for 16 genes and nine protein markers that may indicate the presence of cancer.

To assess CancerSEEK's safety and efficacy, Geisinger researchers conducted blood testing on 10,006 female patients with no past history of cancer. They identified 26 cancers through testing, which were confirmed by PET or CT scans. The test also demonstrated a low rate of false positives.

The findings suggest the CancerSEEK test could be used as a complement to standard cancer screening processes to help detect cancer before it spreads. The test could also improve screening for conditions like ovarian cancer, as standard screening tests for this type of cancer do not exist.

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