Blood proteins signal cancer 7 years before diagnosis

I feel confident in saying that cancer is still the most feared diagnosis a person can receive.

There’s still no cure for cancer.

Currently, the best news medicine can offer is that some cancers — including prostate, testicular and thyroid cancer, as well as early-stage breast cancer and melanoma — can be brought into remission.

But the search for a cure is ongoing. And if we’ve learned anything about cancer, the earlier you know, the better…

The earliest warning signs

“Preventing cancer means looking out for the earliest warning signs of the disease. That means intensive, painstaking research to find the molecular signals we should pay closest attention to.”

Dr Iain Foulkes is Executive Director of Research and Innovation at Cancer Research UK (CRUK), a British foundation that funds researchers who are looking for the earliest signs of cancer.

CRUK funded two groundbreaking studies that have identified a way to detect cancer 7 years before it’s diagnosed.

“This research brings us closer to being able to prevent cancer with targeted drugs – once thought impossible but now much more attainable,” says Dr. Karl Smith-Byrne, Senior Molecular Epidemiologist at Oxford Population Health and a senior author of the first paper and first author of the second study.

Paving the way for a cure

In the first study, scientists analyzed blood samples taken from more than 44,000 people who were part of the UK Biobank. Over 4900 of those sampled (about 11%) went on to receive a cancer diagnosis.

Using a technique called proteomics, the team analyzed over 1400 proteins from a single sample of blood from each person and compared the proteins of people who did and did not go on to be diagnosed with cancer.

The scientists identified 182 proteins that differed in the blood of these two groups just three years before a cancer diagnosis took place.

In a second study, the scientists did a deeper dive to try and determine which specific proteins were involved in cancer development.

Ultimately, they identified 618 proteins linked to 19 different types of cancer, including 107 proteins in a group of people whose blood was collected at least seven years before diagnosis.

“This research brings us closer to being able to prevent cancer with targeted drugs – once thought impossible but now much more attainable,” says Dr. Karl Smith-Byrne, the study’s first author.

On cancer’s heels

While these two studies hold out the tantalizing hope that we could actually cure and even prevent cancer, the team stresses that they have more research to do.

Dr Keren Papier, Senior Nutritional Epidemiologist at Oxford Population Health and joint first author of the first study, said”To save more lives from cancer, we need to better understand what happens at the earliest stages of the disease. Data from thousands of people with cancer has revealed really exciting insights into how the proteins in our blood can affect our risk of cancer. Now we need to study these proteins in depth to see which ones could be reliably used for prevention.”

Hopefully, future research will reveal…

  • The exact role these proteins play in cancer development
  • Which proteins are the most reliable ones to test for
  • What kinds of tests could be developed to detect the proteins in a clinical setting

And, after all that has been determined, there’s still the work of developing drugs that could target these proteins.

But this is groundbreaking news, moving us from thinking of cancer an incurable death sentence to possibly looking at it as just another disease that can be treated.

Editor’s note: Discover how to live a cancer prevention lifestyle — using foods, vitamins, minerals and herbs — as well as little-known therapies allowed in other countries but denied to you by American mainstream medicine. Click here to discover Surviving Cancer! A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding the Causes, Treatments and Big Business Behind Medicine’s Most Frightening Diagnosis!


Scientists discover blood proteins that may give cancer warning 7 years before diagnosis — Eureka Alert

Identifying therapeutic targets for cancer among 2074 circulating proteins and risk of nine cancers — Nature Communications

Identifying proteomic risk factors for cancer using prospective and exome analyses of 1463 circulating proteins and risk of 19 cancers in the UK Biobank — Nature Communications

Joyce Hollman

By Joyce Hollman

Joyce Hollman is a writer based in Kennebunk, Maine, specializing in the medical/healthcare and natural/alternative health space. Health challenges of her own led Joyce on a journey to discover ways to feel better through organic living, utilizing natural health strategies. Now, practicing yoga and meditation, and working towards living in a chemical-free home, her experiences make her the perfect conduit to help others live and feel better naturally.