The end of colonoscopies? Blood test identifies colon polyps

Researchers at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, Ala., created a blood test that measures for blood plasma indicators used to identify patients with colon polyps, AL.com reports.

The blood test was examined in a 189-patient study published in Clinical Cancer Research. Researchers applied high-depth small RNA sequencing to the plasma from the patient cohort. Researchers were able to detect both microRNAs and other small RNA species. They then replicated sequencing results by testing samples from an independent cohort of 140 patients.

Researchers discovered several small RNA species associated with colorectal adenoma. They used these species to correct for patient covariates. Through that, researchers discovered two of the RNAs in the discovery cohort yielded an AUC of 0.755 for adenoma detection.

Researchers concluded, "Circulating small RNAs — including but not limited to miRNAs — discovered by sequencing and validated by qPCR identify patients with colorectal adenomas effectively."

The researchers told AL.com that although there is more work to be done before such a test can be used at a clinic, they're optimistic that blood-based screening for polyps and colon cancer can be routinely offered to patients.

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