Rapid Test for all Cancers

Marking the Cancer Landscape

Cancers are often caused by non-genetic influences such as substances or carcinogens that can affect how our genes are expressed (epigenetics). It would appear in most cancers that when this happens there are changes in the gene structure in particular with the distribution of the chemical methyl (CH3) groups. This change causes what is now called a 'Methylscape' in the affected gene, and this chemical landscape can be detected by a relatively fast and simple test.

Simple Universal Cancer Test

The test that has been developed by researchers at the the University of Queensland and reported in the journal Nature Communications detects a form of methylation that appears to be a feature of all cancer. This would mean that a positive result would indicate the presence of cancer, and further tests would need to be performed in order to be more specific. This could be a useful screening test. Furthermore, the test does not require tissue biopsy as only a liquid sample is required.

The methylscape test is now undergoing clinical studies to evaluate its clinical value and application, but if early results are anything to go by this could be another landmark diagnostic test.

This ten minute non-invasive test that does not require the sophistication normally associated with genetic sequencing is being reported as an incredibly simple method potentially for the early detection of any cancer. The methylscape could be a simple signature common to all cancers.




The removal of a small sample of cells or tissue so that it may be examined under a microscope. The term may also refer to the tissue sample itself. Full medical glossary
Abnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. Full medical glossary
A viral infection affecting the respiratory system. Full medical glossary
The basic unit of genetic material carried on chromosomes. Full medical glossary
Relating to the genes, the basic units of genetic material. Full medical glossary
Any test or technique that does not involve penetration of the skin. The term 'non-invasive' may also describe tumours that do not invade surrounding tissues. Full medical glossary
A way to identify people who may have a certain condition, among a group of people who may or may not seem to Full medical glossary
A group of cells with a similar structure and a specialised function. Full medical glossary