The standard method of monitoring people with a high risk of brain tumors nowadays is having an MRI every 3 months, which is followed by biopsy. The problem with this standard method is that this procedure can be disrupted by other things, like COVID pandemic, which increases a risk of things to be missed or even delayed. A recent UK study seems to find a solution to this problem.

The researchers proposed 2 tests to detect the presence of glioma, a type of brain tumor, through urine or blood test.

The first test works for people who have previously had glioma removed and biopsied. The test checks the mutations found in the tumor tissue within the cell-free DNA (cfDNA) in the urine, cerebrospinal fluid, and blood plasma.

The second test allows also to detect the presence of a tumor, but without having to identify the mutations based on the size of the fragments of cfDNA using a machine learning algorithm. This way is cheaper and easier, and doesn’t require a tissue biopsy from the tumor. On the other hand, it is not as sensitive and is less specific than the first test.

Although this study is in its early stages as only a small number of people was analyzed, the tested results are promising. The researchers believe that in the near future their tests could be used between the MRI scans to detect a returning brain tumor earlier and take an appropriate action on time.

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Tatsiana Haponava, PhD

a certified nutrition coach, educator and researcher with a PhD degree

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