Scientists have the first major evidence that blood tests called liquid biopsies hold promise for screening people for cancer. Hong Kong doctors tried it for a type of head and neck cancer, and boosted early detection and one measure of survival.
The tests detect DNA that tumors shed into blood. Many companies are trying to develop them as possible alternatives to mammograms, colonoscopies and other tools used now. The new study shows this approach can work, at least for this one form of cancer and in a country where it's common.
The study involved nasopharyngeal (naze-oh-fah-RINJ-ee-al) cancer, which forms at the top of the throat, behind the nose.
The New England Journal of Medicine published results Wednesday.