Discovery of new biomarker enables early detection of colorectal cancer

Madrid, Nov 10 (EFE).- Spanish researchers have discovered a new biomarker which could enable the detection of colorectal cancer in its early stages through a blood test.

The results of the research, led by scientists Angel Díaz-Lagares and Rafael López from the Health Research Institute of Santiago de Compostela, confirmed that the early detection of this biomarker – RNA LINC00473 – through a liquid biopsy could be used for a non-invasive colorectal cancer screening in people who are not yet symptomatic, and also to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment in patients in more advanced stages.

According to the Health Institute Carlos III, colorectal cancer is the third most frequently detected cancer worldwide, and that its prevalence will increase by 60% – to more than 2.2 million new cases – by 2030.

The discovery represents a major breakthrough in the field since this type of cancer is commonly detected in later stages, which is why it is among the leading causes of cancer mortality.

Among the current screening tests, colonoscopies are most commonly used, but it is an invasive procedure with a risk of complications, and as an alternative there is the fecal immunochemical test, also widely used to detect the presence of fecal hemoglobin, but which has shown some limitations, including the inability to reliably detect precancerous lesions.

Because of this, researchers have stressed the urgency of having non-invasive tests available for the early detection of this type of cancer, and a liquid biopsy would serve this purpose, since it is a test performed on a blood sample to look for cancer cells or DNA fragments of tumor cells.

Roughly 645 patients from 10 different hospitals (nine in Spain and one in the US) participated in the study as well as 233 healthy people. EFE rc/aef/jt

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