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Υγρή βιοψία: Τεστ αίματος ανιχνεύει τον καρκίνο ένα χρόνο πριν από τις τομογραφίες

Επιστήμονες στη Βρετανία -μεταξύ των οποίων δύο Έλληνες- ανέπτυξαν ένα νέο τεστ αίματος (υγρής βιοψίας) που μπορεί να προβλέψει την υποτροπή του καρκίνου των πνευμόνων, έως ένα έτος προτού η ασθένεια είναι δυνατό να ανιχνευθεί με ακτινογραφίες και τομογραφίες ή προκαλέσει τα οποιαδήποτε σωματικά συμπτώματα.

Το τεστ ανιχνεύει το DNA του καρκινικού όγκου, το οποίο κυκλοφορεί στο αίμα του ασθενούς, προτού οι όγκοι γίνουν τόσο μεγάλοι, ώστε να είναι ανιχνεύσιμοι με τις απεικονιστικές διαγνωστικές εξετάσεις. Εκτιμάται ότι το τεστ «πιάνει» στο αίμα καρκίνους που έχουν όγκο μόλις 0,3 κυβικών χιλιοστών.

Το επίτευγμα μπορεί να βοηθήσει σημαντικά στην έγκαιρη αντιμετώπιση της νόσου. Στο μέλλον αναμένεται ότι οι περισσότεροι, αν όχι όλοι, οι καρκινοπαθείς θα κάνουν τέτοια τεστ και για άλλα είδη καρκίνου.

Οι ερευνητές του Ινστιτούτου Φράνσις Κρικ, με επικεφαλής τον δρα Κρίστοφερ Άμπος, που έκαναν τη σχετική δημοσίευση στο περιοδικό Nature, ανέλυσαν γενετικά όγκους από 100 ασθενείς με μη-μικροκυτταρικό καρκίνο των πνευμόνων. Βρήκαν ότι όσοι όγκοι περιείχαν μεγαλύτερο ποσοστό ασταθών χρωμοσωμάτων (που επιτρέπουν ευκολότερα στον όγκο να εξελιχθεί), έχουν τετραπλάσια πιθανότητα υποτροπής της νόσου ή θανάτου μέσα στην επόμενη διετία.

Αυτού του είδους οι γενετικά ασταθείς όγκοι είναι δυσκολότερο να θεραπευθούν. Οι επιστήμονες ανέλυσαν το αίμα αυτών των 100 ασθενών, αναζητώντας ίχνη του καρκινικού DNA, που είχαν αποκολληθεί από τους όγκους.

Στη συνέχεια, με βάση τα παραπάνω ευρήματα, ανέπτυξαν ένα διαγνωστικό τεστ (TRACERx) που δοκίμασαν σε δείγματα αίματος από 24 άλλους ασθενείς, οι οποίοι είχαν στο παρελθόν υποβληθεί σε χειρουργική αφαίρεση όγκων. Με αυτό τον τρόπο, κατάφεραν να εντοπίσουν με ακρίβεια 92% τις περιπτώσεις που ο καρκίνος επρόκειτο να επιστρέψει μέσα σε ένα έτος.

Όπως γράφει το Αθηναϊκό Πρακτορείο Ειδήσεων, προς το παρόν το κόστος του τεστ για κάθε ασθενή είναι υψηλό (περίπου 1.500 ευρώ), αλλά μέσα στα επόμενα δύο έως τρία χρόνια αναμένεται να πέσει, καθώς το τεστ θα γίνει πιο απλό.

Στην έρευνα συμμετείχαν και δύο Έλληνες επιστήμονες, ο Νίκος Παναγιωτόπουλος του Τμήματος Θωρακοχειρουργικής του University College του Λονδίνου και ο Απόστολος Νάκας του Τμήματος Θωρακοχειρουργικής του Νοσοκομείου Γκλένφιλντ του Λέστερ

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