Current Screening Technologies for Early Detection of Cancer

By Priyanka Varma


Feb. 8th, 2022

Early detection of cancer aims to eventually cure the cancer, by detecting it or its precursor lesion at the earliest, before the onset of symptoms [1]. With the advent of precision medicine and Next Generation Sequencing (NGS), there are several cancer biomarkers currently being researched to diagnose cancers by “Liquid Biopsy”. They are classified as genetic, epigenetic, transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic biomarkers. The researchers also use a combination of these approaches which is classified under the “multi omics” category. This helps obtain a comprehensive assessment of cell dynamics to eventually aid in early detection of cancer.

Table 1 lists a brief overview of the categories of several biomarkers currently available and/ or being  researched for some of their respective types of cancers.

Table 1: Category of Cancer Biomarkers

While the advantage of early detection utilizing these biomarkers by liquid biopsy is promising, low concentration of the biomarkers,  limited sensitivity and specificity could present practical concerns in the utility of these tests. However, incorporation of NGS and introducing high throughput platforms can markedly improve the sensitivity by performing a detailed genomic analysis and using amplification principle to examine  a wider spectrum of the biomarker respectively. 


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