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One step closer to the development of a DNA test for liver cancer

June 6, 2018 15:25

A group of researchers from the Mayo Clinic and Exact Sciences Corporation completed a study phase II, comparing the set of DNA markers alpha-fetoprotein as a method to check for liver cancer. The researchers presented their results today at the conference "Week of digestive disease in 2018" in Washington, DC.

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"Currently, we are testing the liver cancer with ultrasound and blood protein marker called alpha-fetoprotein", - says John Kisiel, MD, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic. "Unfortunately, these tests are not very sensitive to the treatable stages of liver cancer, and most patients who need this test, do not have it readily available."

Dr. Kisiel and his colleagues developed a simple blood test using the abnormal DNA-markers which are known to exist in tissues of liver cancer. They were able to confirm that the abnormal DNA markers are present in the vast majority of blood samples, which come from people with primary liver cancer. At the same time, these markers were absent in healthy people and patients with liver cirrhosis, but were not detected cancer in the clinical observation.

"We were very pleased that our DNA-markers were able to detect more than 90% of patients with tumors curable stage," - says Dr. Kisiel. "This is the main reason why we believe that a DNA test will be important, as compared to the currently available tests." Dr. Kisiel says that the next step will be to confirm these markers in the analysis of a blood on a much larger number of patient cohorts.

According to the National Cancer Institute, the number of new cases in the US for liver cancer and bile duct was 8.8 per 100 000 men and women a year. Dr. Kisiel says that primary liver cancer is a major cause of suffering and death in patients who have liver cirrhosis, or in patients with hepatitis C infection with B. Worldwide, liver cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death.



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