Simple Blood Test May Help Assess Risk of Colorectal Cancer Interview with:

Gilles Jobin, MD, FRCP, MSc
Chief of Gastroenterology
Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital
Associate Professor of Medicine
University of Montreal
Montréal, Qc

Excerpt:  What is the background for this study?

Dr. Jobin:  It is known that the immune system has a role to play in keeping the body free of cancer and tumor cells. There is a lot of scientific literature that shows that when someone has cancer, certain cells from the immune system do not function very well. These cells are called natural killer or NK cells and they are the first ones to respond when there is a virus, a bacteria or a tumor cell in the body.

If the activity of these cells is very low, then there is a higher risk of someone developing a cancer, and if someone has cancer, there are greater chances that their NK cell activity is low.

In the last few decades, a few tests have been developed to measure NK Cell activity but they have been used in research only because they were complicated and difficult to use.

The current study measured NK Cell activity (NKA) with a new commercially available simple blood test to investigate its clinical application in the detection of colorectal cancer in patients presenting for prescribed colonoscopy. The aim of this study is to evaluate the sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values of this in vitro diagnostic device in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) and adenomatous polyps (AP).

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