Professor of oncology and pathology, Dr Nickolas Papadopoulos together with a team of American researchers, has developed a single blood test that can screen the body for eight common cancers.

Named CancerSEEK, the test evaluates levels of cancer proteins and the possible presence of cancer gene mutations from circulating DNA in the blood that are released by dying cancer cells.

“The use of a combination of selected biomarkers for early detection has the potential to change the way we screen for cancer, and it is based on the same rationale for using combinations of drugs to treat cancers,” Dr Papadopoulos said.

Along with screening the eight cancers, five of which have no screening test available, the test also helps to identify the location of the disease in the body.

An Aristotle University of Thessaloniki graduate, Dr Papadopoulos’ team’s findings were published online by Science on January 18.

In the blood samples of 1,005 patients, the test detected between 33 and 98 per cent of cases.

It screened for the presence of errors in 16 genes that are frequently mutated in different kinds of cancer. Patient’s blood was also tested for eight known protein biomarkers seen to differing degrees, depending on where in the body a tumour is located.

Out of the eight cancers, Ovarian cancer proved to be the easiest to detect, followed by liver, stomach, pancreas, oesophageal, colorectal, lung and breast cancers.

Meanwhile, when the test was administered to 812 healthy control subjects, it produced seven false-positive results.