Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer for women around the world, but the lack of early symptoms can make diagnosis and treatment difficult. Fortunately, researchers at the University of Nottingham, in the United Kingdom, have found a way to detect early cancer signs using antigens in the blood.
The researchers developed a panel of tumor-associated antigens (TAAs) specific to breast cancer and screened blood tests for autoantigens that respond to these specific TAAs. They used blood samples from 90 patients with breast cancer and 90 control patients without.
The blood tests detect cancer with reasonable accuracy and could help predict the presence of cancer up to 5 years before any visible symptoms occur. The test needs to be further developed and perfected, but researchers hope it will be available to the public in 4 to 5 years.