The article highlights the relative benefits of breath testing, saying: "While liquid biopsy options allow for fairly early diagnosis by detecting the DNA that tumors shed into the bloodstream, some companies, such as Owlstone Medical, are hoping to enable diagnosis even earlier in the course of cancer."
Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald, lead scientist on the PAN Cancer Trial and co-lead of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre Early Detection Programme, is quoted as saying: "We urgently need to develop new tools, like this breath test, which could help to detect and diagnose cancer earlier, giving patients the best chance of surviving their disease."
The PAN Cancer Trial is supported by Cancer Research UK, which lists early detection as one of its strategic priorities. Estimates suggest that around half of cancers in the UK are diagnosed in the later stages and there is an urgent need to diagnose more cancers earlier when there is a greater chance of survival. The trial aims to identify potential biomarkers that could be used in future to help detect and diagnose cancer. Should it be successful, further trials will be needed to validate the results.