A single blood test screens for eight common cancer types and helps identify the location of the cancer. The test, called CancerSEEK, is a unique noninvasive, multianalyte test that simultaneously evaluates levels of eight cancer proteins and the presence of cancer gene mutations from circulating DNA in the blood.

The blood test provides unique framework for early detection of the most common cancers.
(Credit: Credit: Elizabeth Cook and Kaitlin Lindsay)

The test is aimed at screening for eight common cancer types that account for more than 60 percent of cancer deaths in the United States. Five of the cancers covered by the test currently have no screening test.

The test was designed to reflect a point of diminishing returns, including the DNA markers that were useful to detecting the cancers and eliminating those that did not add benefit. The result was a relatively small panel of highly selective DNA markers.

Researchers say the test represents the next step in changing the focus of cancer research from late-stage disease to early disease.