An international group of researchers are making progress in the development of a highly sensitive diagnostic test for breast cancer. According to preliminary clinical trials, the new immunoassay using multiphoton-detection (IA/MPD) has been demonstrated to be 200-1000 times more sensitive than conventional immunoassays. Their study has been published in a recent issue of the Journal of Proteome Research.
Sensitivity and specificity in cancer detection have been found to be potentiated by use of immunoassay panels which include tissue-specific cancer biomarkers as well as cytokines and angiogenic factors. The ultrasensitive immunoassays revealed that patient to patient variations in the concentrations of individual biomarkers in blood can extend over many orders of magnitude (up to six) and that the distributions of biomarker concentrations over patient cohorts are non-Gaussian.
This blood based breast cancer detection test seems sensitive and specific, and based on the pilot studies, the researchers claim that this methodology could differentiate malignant breast cancer from benign lesions. It may also be applied to other epithelial cancers such as prostate cancer, ovarian cancer and melanoma.
The scientific manuscript describing the above study can be found here or for an overview, you may want to read the short feature report from UCL.