2 February 2011
Tumour specialists have found a new cancer diagnosis technique that could single out growths that are likely to spread to other parts of the body.
Researchers from the US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's cellular neurobiology department, which is based in Hong Kong, have uncovered a protein that allows for more accurate prognosis predictions.
Lead researcher Y Peng Loh wrote in The Journal of Clinical Investigation that the new biomarker could be a good diagnostic tool for a variety of different cancers.
The technique could revolutionise the way that cancer stages are calculated by clinicians.
CPE-delta N, the protein in question, was found at high levels in numerous cancer types - including liver, breast, colon, adrenal and head and neck cancers.
They found that when the protein concentration was double normal levels in cancer cells, the cancer was highly likely to return or spread within two years.
Another biomarker for cancer recurrence is the carcinoembryonic antigen, but the protein is not cancer specific.
1 Loh, Y Peng et al. "An N-terminal truncated carboxypeptidase E splice isoform induces tumor growth and is a biomarker for predicting future metastasis in human cancers". Tuesday, February 1st 2011.
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