In a common genetic disorder, blood test reveals when benign tumors turn cancerous

Neurofibromatosis type 1, or NF1, is the most common cancer predisposition syndrome, affecting 1 in 3,000 people worldwide

People with an inherited condition known as neurofibromatosis type 1, or NF1, often develop non-cancerous, or benign, tumors that grow along nerves. These tumors can sometimes turn into aggressive cancers, but there hasn’t been a good way to determine whether this transformation to cancer has happened.

Researchers from the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Center for Cancer Research, part of the National Institutes of Health, and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed a blood test that, they believe, could one day offer a highly sensitive and inexpensive approach to detect cancer early in people with NF1. The blood test could also help doctors monitor how well patients are responding to treatment for their cancer.

The findings are published in the August 31 issue of PLOS Medicine.

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This page was last updated on Friday, January 21, 2022