Study highlights Exact Sciences’ blood test for liver cancer

A recent scientific study found Exact Sciences’ test for the most common form of liver cancer was more sensitive than the current diagnostic standard. 

The study was published Thursday in the peer-reviewed journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. It detailed the performance of the blood-based Oncoguard Liver test for patients who fit the testing recommendation for hepatocellular carcinoma. 

Exact Sciences is a Madison-based company developing a number of diagnostic and screening tools for various forms of cancer. 

Under current guidelines, the standard of care for testing is visual monitoring through an ultrasound, with or without a specific blood test of certain liver proteins, according to the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. That test is known as an alpha-fetoprotein blood test, or AFP blood test. 

The study found Exact Sciences’ liver test has an 82 percent sensitivity rate for early-stage hepatocellular carcinoma. That’s compared to 40 percent for the AFP blood test alone, 47 percent for the ultrasound alone, and 63 percent for the ultrasound and the AFP test together. 

“We have been working for years to build a simple, high-performing blood test for HCC surveillance, and these results indicate that the Oncoguard Liver test is poised to be the major advancement our patients deserve and need,” said Dr. Naga Chalasani, lead author of the study and interim chair of Indiana University’s Department of Medicine. 

Dr. Lewis Roberts of the Mayo Clinic, who helped develop the test, says it was created in hopes of detecting liver cancer earlier, which can help patients survive longer. A release from the company notes that five-year survival rates for hepatocellular carcinoma can improve from under 12 percent to over 70 percent when the disease is detected in its earlier stages. 

See the release: 

See the full study here:

–By Alex Moe