Scientists hail first melanoma blood test

But some experts are not ready to celebrate yet

A routine blood test that detects early-stage melanoma may soon be available, according to a team of scientists from Edith Cowan University in Perth.

Their ultimate goal is for the test to be used to provide greater diagnostic certainty prior to biopsy and for routine screening of high-risk patients.

But experts say test results would still need to be interpreted with caution.

In a trial involving 105 people with melanoma and 104 healthy controls, the researchers report the blood test was able to detect early-stage melanoma in 81.5% of cases.

“While clinicians do a fantastic job with the tools available, relying on biopsies alone can be problematic,” says lead researcher PhD candidate Pauline Zaenker.

“We know that three out of four biopsies come back negative for melanoma.”

The new blood test works by detecting the autoantibodies produced in response to the melanoma.