Plasma DNA for early cancer screening


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Yuk Ming Dennis Lo1
1The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Abstract

Our group has been interested in the diagnostic applications of plasma DNA since the late 1990s. We started with the development of non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) which has now been introduced into over 90 countries and has been used by millions of pregnant women. The success of NIPT has triggered recent intense interest about the use of a similar strategy for cancer detection. Our group has particular interest in the early screening of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). In this regard, we have previously developed a method based on the measurement of plasma Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNA. In 2013, we started a 20,000-person study using plasma EBV DNA to screen for NPC.

We expect that this study will be completed within 2016. Our next goal is to attempt to generalise plasma DNA-based cancer screening to other cancer types through the use of genomewide sequencing of plasma DNA.

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