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Noninvasive detection of any-stage cancer using free glycosaminoglycans


S. Bratulic, A. Limeta, S. Dabestani, H. Birgisson, G. Enblad, K. Stålberg, G. Hesselager, M. Häggman , M. Höglund, O. E. Simonson, P. Stålberg, H. Lindman , A. Bång-Rudenstam, M. Ekstrand, G. Kumar, I. Cavarretta, M. Alfano, F. Pellegrino , T.M. Clausen, A. Salantip, F. Maccari, F. Galeotti, Ni. Volpi, M. Daugaardl, M. Belting , S. Lundstams, U. Stierner, J. Nymant, B. Bergman, P.H. Edqvistd, M. Levink, A. Salonian, H. Kjölhedes, E. Jonasch, J. Nielsena and Francesco Gattoa


Noninvasive detection of any-stage cancer using free glycosaminoglycans PNAS 2022 Vol. 119 No. 50 e2115328119

Multi-cancer early detection (MCED) is an emerging paradigm to curb cancer mortality by shifting the stage at diagnosis through a single test capturing all cancer types when still confined to their tissue of origin (stage I). Liquid biopsies based on genomic biomarkers could make MCED realistic, but limitations include  10% stage I sensitivity in validation studies; the inability to detect specific types like gliomas; complex assays; and potential overdiagnosis.


The authors demonstrate the potential of free glycosaminoglycan profiles (GAGomes) as metabolic biomarkers for MCED across 14 cancer types. In a validation study, plasma and urine GAGomes doubled the stage I sensitivity reported by state-of-the-art genomics biomarkers and detected poor prognosis cancers. As such, this simple assay could accelerate MCED implementation.

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