Despite recommendations, many people in the target age group are not getting screened for colorectal cancer. However, a new blood-based screening test may help boost those rates because of its simplicity and convenience for the patient. The downside is that the new test is not as sensitive or accurate as a colonoscopy or the other recommended screening approaches.
Approved in April 2016, the Epi proColon (Epigenomics AG) is the first blood-based colorectal screening test to get a thumbs-up from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
This molecular test detects methylated Septin 9 DNA in plasma, which is increased in colorectal cancer and can be found in tumor DNA that has been shed into the bloodstream from both colon and rectal sites. This makes it a differential biomarker for the early detection of colorectal cancer, according to the manufacturer.
Available in Europe since 2012, it is also being marketed in other countries, including China.
Blood Test for Colorectal Cancer: The Last Resort?