Research press release


Nature Communications

Cancer: A blood test may detect cancer at early stages

5種類の一般的ながんを、従来の診断法より最大で4年早く発見できる可能性のある非侵襲的な血液検査について報告する論文が、Nature Communications に掲載される。


今回の論文で、Kun Zhangたちの研究チームは、血液検査によるがんスクリーニング検査「PanSeer」について記述している。PanSeerは、血液中のがん特異的なメチル化の特徴を調べる。今回の研究で、Zhangたちは、無症状者605人から採取した血漿検体を分析し、うち191人は、後にがんと診断された。また、Zhangたちはこれとは別に、がんと診断された患者223人の血漿検体と、200点の原発腫瘍検体と正常組織検体も分析した。その結果、PanSeerによって、がん診断後の患者だけでなく無症状者において5種類の一般的ながん(胃がん、食道がん、大腸がん、肺がん、肝臓がん)を高い特異性で検出でき、がん無症状者については従来の診断法よりも最大で4年早く検出できることが明らかになった。


A non-invasive blood test, which could be used as a potential tool for the early detection of five common types of cancer up to four years before conventional diagnosis, is reported in a study published in Nature Communications.

The survival of cancer patients significantly increases when the disease is identified at early stages, as the tumour can be surgically removed or treated with appropriate drugs. However, only a limited number of screening tests exist for a few cancer types.

In their study, Kun Zhang and colleagues describe a blood-based cancer screening test, called PanSeer, which examines cancer-specific methylation signatures in the blood. The authors perform an analysis on plasma samples obtained from 605 asymptomatic individuals, 191 of whom were later diagnosed with cancer. They also profile plasma samples from an additional 223 diagnosed cancer patients as well as 200 primary tumour and normal tissue samples. The authors demonstrate that their test can potentially detect with high specificity five common types of cancer (stomach, esophageal, colorectal, lung or liver cancer) in post-diagnosis patients, as well as in asymptomatic individuals up to four years before conventional diagnosis.

The authors emphasize that the PanSeer assay is unlikely to be predicting patients who will later go on to develop cancer. Instead, it is most likely identifying patients who already have cancerous growths, but remain asymptomatic to current detection methods. They conclude that further large-scale longitudinal studies are needed to confirm the potential of the test for the early detection of cancer in pre-diagnosis individuals.

doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-17316-z

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