Fred Hutch Unveils Results of New Blood Test that Detects Colon Cancer


Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center have unveiled a new type of blood test used to detect colorectal cancer, with high hopes not only in its ability to reduce barriers to testing for this particular disease, but also potentially paving the way for many other types of cancer screenings.

The study, published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, analyzed results from nearly 8,000 people throughout the country between ages 45 and 84 and compared results of their blood tests to those of a colonoscopy. In all, the new test accurately detected colorectal cancer 83% of the time, which is “at least equal and maybe better than” a commonly used stool-based detection test, said Dr. William Grady, medical director of Fred Hutch’s gastrointestinal cancer prevention program and who led the study.

“We have a lot of people who are dying from a preventable cancer,” Grady said. “And the reason is they’re not doing colon cancer screenings. This is a real opportunity to improve that and prevent those deaths. That’s why I get excited about it.”