Exact Sciences Corp. and Mayo Clinic are touting early results of a study on a blood test for lung cancer.
They say the blood test, involving nearly 400 people, correctly identified people with cancer more than 9 out of 10 times. It also was able to determine which people did not have cancer at least 90 percent of the time.
“More studies are needed to corroborate accuracy, however, this plasma DNA test approach appears to be a promising new method and may serve as a rational follow-up to the common findings of lung nodules on CT scanning,” said David Midthun, a Mayo Clinic pulmonologist.
The study tested 87 lung cancer patients and 311 people without cancer. Results were released Wednesday by the American Association of Cancer Research.
The blood test looked at four DNA biomarkers and used the same type of technology as Cologuard, Exact’s DNA stool test to screen for colorectal cancer.
Exact CEO and chairman Kevin Conroy said a blood test may “help guide next steps” after a scan shows a lung nodule.
“For example, a positive blood test might suggest the need for a biopsy or surgery. In contrast, a negative test might suggest a less aggressive approach,” Conroy said.
Results of the study will be presented to the American Association of Cancer Research’s annual meeting on April 2.
The news follows a presentation Exact Sciences made in January at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco. That report showed a test — also grown out of the Exact-Mayo Clinic collaboration — correctly identified 98.5 percent of the patients with cancer in the tissue of lung nodules and had no false positives in cases where the nodules were benign.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says more than 212,000 were diagnosed with lung cancer and 156,000 died of the disease in 2013, the most recent year for which figures are available.
Exact Sciences has more than 800 employees nationwide, with about 575 of them in the Madison area, the company said. Exact reported $99.4 million revenue in 2016.