German researchers create blood test to detect breast cancer

German researchers have developed a blood test to detect breast cancer, according to an article posted online on 21 February by Deutsche Welle.

The test, called HeiScreen, was developed by researchers at Heidelberg University Hospital and can identify cancer in the blood before it becomes visible on imaging, said lead researcher Dr. Christof Sohn in a statement released by the hospital.

The test is not intended to replace traditional breast cancer screening with mammography, ultrasound, and breast MRI, the researchers noted.

It requires only a few millimeters of blood and is particularly sensitive in women younger than age 50, according to Sohn's group. In this population, the procedure is 86% accurate, while it is 60% accurate in women older than 50.

In the future, HeiScreen could be used to find metastases or recurring cancers and monitor long-term cancer treatments, according to the article.

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