With breast cancer, early detection is crucial. Mammograms can find small lumps and tumors, but a new blood biomarker test, developed at University College London could detect "fatal" breast cancer up to a year before it could be found on a mammogram or when a woman does monthly check of breast tissue. The blood marker looks for hydrogen and carbon molecules that have hitched a ride on a specific piece of the patient's DNA known as EFC 93.
In a study at UCL, 43% of women who had the blood test, went on to develop breast cancer six months to a year later. The scientists at the university noted that these particular molecules attaching to the EFC 93 piece of the DNA helix are an indicator that the form of cancer developing has a high likelihood of being fatal. More work is being done to see if the biomarker can be further isolated so that it could show up in routine screening.