Research ArticleCancer

Circulating tumor DNA methylation profiles enable early diagnosis, prognosis prediction, and screening for colorectal cancer

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Science Translational Medicine  01 Jan 2020:
Vol. 12, Issue 524, eaax7533
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aax7533

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Methylation marks the spot

The detection of circulating tumor DNA in the blood is a noninvasive method that may help detect cancer at early stages if one knows the correct markers for evaluation. Luo et al. analyzed methylation patterns in blood samples from multiple large cohorts of patients, including a prospective screening cohort of people at high risk of colorectal cancer. The authors identified and validated a methylation-based diagnostic score to help distinguish patients with colorectal cancer from healthy controls, as well as a prognostic score that correlated with patients’ survival. One methylation marker in particular appeared to have high sensitivity and specificity for identifying patients with cancer.

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