A new liquid biopsy test developed by scientists in the US, Denmark and the Netherlands and published in the journal Nature correctly detected the presence of cancer in the majority of cases, and identified the tissue with the primary tumour approximately 75% of the time.
The test is a modified liquid biopsy test. A liquid biopsy is a test done on a sample of blood to look for cancer cells from a tumour or for pieces of DNA from tumour cells (circulating tumour DNA, ctDNA) that are circulating in the blood. The new liquid biopsy test relies on detection of a characteristic fragmentation pattern caused by the circulating tumour DNA in a test called a mass spectrometer, which is used to detect the DNA.
The test is called DELFI (DNA evaluation of fragments for early interception). The scientists used a machine learning method to teach DELFI to recognise the fragmentation patterns that suggest the presence of cancer.
The test requires extensive validation before it can be used in the clinic.