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Blood Test Reveals Colon Cancer Proteins

rcent accurate in identifying the 28 existing cancers. Using the same protein markers, investigators also correctly identified 51 of 53 individuals (96.2 percent) with normal colons and 14 of 18 (77.8 percent) people with advanced precancerous polyps, which Getzenberg says are the most important to detect through routine screening.

When researchers combined samples, they correctly identified 42 of 46 (91.3 percent) containing both cancers and advanced precancerous polyps. Protein levels were accurate in correctly assessing additional blood samples from 125 people with benign conditions and other cancers.

"These proteins seem very good at separating normal samples from cancerous ones and identifying other groups with pre-cancers at high risk for disease as well," says Getzenberg, who is a professor of urology and director of research at Johns Hopkins' Brady Urological Institute. Results are published in the June 15 issue of Cancer Research.

The researchers are planning larger studies at several hospitals over the next several months. It may take several years to complete the full range of testing.Getzenberg says that storing and processing the samples are among the major hurdles in biomarker development, a field that spans ongoing research on many cancers and various body fluids.

"It is difficult to get many facilities to adhere to precise storage and processing conditions important for keeping proteins stable," he says. "Different conditions could create incorrect results." Researchers also differ in the type of biomarkers they seek, with some looking for proteins, like Getzenberg, and others searching for DNA components.




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