Saturday December 7, 2019

Blood Test Can Detect Breast Cancer 5 Years Earlier: Study

The researchers are now testing samples from 800 patients against a panel of nine tumour-associated antigens, and they expect the accuracy of the test to improve with these larger numbers

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blood test
In a pilot study, the researchers took blood test samples from 90 breast cancer patients at the time they were diagnosed with Breast Cancer and matched them with samples taken from 90 patients without breast cancer (the control group). Pixabay

Researchers have found that a simple Blood Test can detect Breast Cancer up to five years before there are any clinical signs of it.

The blood test identifies the body’s immune response to substances produced by tumour cells, according to the research presented at the 2019 NCRI (National Cancer Research Institute) Cancer Conference in Glasgow, UK, on Sunday.

“We need to develop and further validate this test,” said Daniyah Alfattani from University of Nottingham in Britain.

“However, these results are encouraging and indicate that it’s possible to detect a signal for early breast cancer. Once we have improved the accuracy of the test, then it opens the possibility of using a simple blood test to improve early detection of the disease,” she said.

Cancer cells produce proteins called antigens that trigger the body to make antibodies against them — auto-antibodies.

The researchers have found that these tumour-associated antigens (TAAs) are good indicators of cancer, and now they have developed panels of tumour-associated antigens that are known already to be associated with breast cancer to detect whether or not there are auto-antibodies against them in blood samples taken from patients.

Blood Test
Researchers have found that a simple blood test can detect Breast Cancer up to five years before there are any clinical signs of it. Pixabay

In a pilot study, the researchers took blood samples from 90 breast cancer patients at the time they were diagnosed with breast cancer and matched them with samples taken from 90 patients without breast cancer (the control group).

They used screening technology (protein microarray) that allowed them to screen the blood samples rapidly for the presence of auto-antibodies against 40 tumour-associated antigens associated with breast cancer, and also 27 tumour-associated antigens that were not known to be linked with the disease.

“The results of our study showed that breast cancer does induce autoantibodies against panels of specific tumour-associated antigens. We were able to detect cancer with reasonable accuracy by identifying these auto-antibodies in the blood,” Alfattani said while presenting the research.

The researchers identified three panels of tumour-associated antigens against which to test for autoantibodies. The accuracy of the test improved in the panels that contained more tumour-associated antigens.

The panel of five tumour-associated antigens correctly detected breast cancer in 29 per cent of the samples from the cancer patients and correctly identified 84 per cent of the control samples as being cancer-free.

Blood Test
However, these Blood Test Results are encouraging and indicate that it’s possible to detect a signal for early Breast Cancer. Pixabay

The panel of seven tumour-associated antigens correctly identified cancer in 35 per cent of cancer samples and no cancer in 79 per cent of control samples. The panel of nine antigens correctly identified cancer in 37 per cent of cancer samples and no cancer in 79 per cent of the controls.

The researchers are now testing samples from 800 patients against a panel of nine tumour-associated antigens, and they expect the accuracy of the test to improve with these larger numbers.

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“A blood test for early breast cancer detection would be cost effective, which would be of particular value in low and middle income countries. It would also be an easier screening method to implement compared to current methods, such as mammography,” said Alfattani. (IANS)

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Generalised Anxiety Disorder During Teenage Can Lead to Harmful Drinking Habits

Using questionnaire and clinical interview data from more than 2,000 participants, researchers found generalised anxiety disorder at age 18 was linked to frequent drinking

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Anxiety
Research has shown that links between mental health problems, such as Anxiety disorders, and alcohol are common and complex. Pixabay

Researchers at the University of Bristol have found evidence of an association between generalised Anxiety disorder at age 18 and harmful drinking three years later.

The study, published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence strengthens the evidence for a relationship between anxiety and later alcohol use as the researchers accounted for other factors such as adolescent smoking and cannabis use, and parental anxiety and alcohol use.

“Helping adolescents to develop positive strategies for coping with anxiety, instead of drinking alcohol, may reduce the risk of future harmful drinking. However, we cannot determine if the relationship is causal, because we used an observational study design,” said Maddy Dyer.

Using questionnaire and clinical interview data from more than 2,000 participants, researchers found generalised anxiety disorder at age 18 was linked to frequent drinking, frequent bingeing, hazardous drinking, and harmful drinking at age 18.

Generalised anxiety disorder continued to be associated with harmful drinking at age 21.

Drinking to cope was also strongly associated with more harmful drinking, but it did not appear to influence associations between anxiety and alcohol use.

Harmful drinking was measured using a special test developed by the World Health Association.

On average, adolescents with anxiety drank at more harmful levels regardless of whether they tended to drink alcohol for coping reasons or not.

Anxiety
Researchers at the University of Bristol have found evidence of an association between generalised Anxiety disorder at age 18 and harmful drinking three years later. Pixabay

“Our own research has shown that links between mental health problems, such as anxiety disorders, and alcohol are common and complex,” said Mark Leyshon, Senior Policy and Research Manager at Alcohol Change UK.

For example, anxiety can be both a result of stopping drinking and a risk factor in beginning to drink too much, as this new study suggests.

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“We need more research to help us better understand the connections between alcohol and mental health, as well as high-quality, accessible, integrated support for substance misuse and mental health issues,” Leyshon added. (IANS)