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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 50  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 175-183

Cell-free DNA concentration and integrity as a screening tool for cancer

1 Department of Radiation Sciences, Medical Research Institute, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt
2 Department of Experimental and Clinical Surgery, Medical Research Institute, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt
3 Department of Cancer Research and Management, Medical Research Institute, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt
4 Department of Applied Medical Chemistry, Medical Research Institute, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Ebtsam R Zaher
Department of Radiation Sciences, Medical Research Institute, Alexandria University, Alexandria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-509X.118721

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Aim of the Study: This study aims to evaluate cell-free DNA (CFDNA) concentration and integrity in patients with malignant and nonmalignant diseases and in controls to investigate their value as a screening test for cancer, and to correlate them with clinicopathological parameters of cancer patients. Materials and Methods: The study included three groups; group I: 120 cancer patients, group II: 120 patients with benign diseases and group III: 120 normal healthy volunteers as control. One plasma sample was collected from each subject. CFDNA was purified from the plasma then its concentration was measured and integrity was assessed by PCR amplification of 100, 200, 400, and 800 bp bands. Results: There was a highly significant difference in CFDNA levels between cancer group and each of benign and control groups. AUC of ROC curve for cancer group versus normal and benign groups were 0.962 and 0.895, which indicated the efficiency of CFDNA as a marker of cancer. As for integrity, normal and benign subjects showed only two bands at 100 and 200 bp, while all cancer patients demonstrated the 400 bp band and 78% of them had the 800 bp whose presence correlated with vascular invasion. Conclusion: The combined use of CFDNA concentration and integrity is a candidate for a universal screening test of cancer. Upon setting suitable boundaries for the test it might be applied to identify cancer patients, particularly among subjects with predisposing factors. Being less expensive, CFDNA concentration could be applied for mass screening and for patients with values overlapping those of normal and benign subjects, the use of the more expensive, yet more specific, integrity test is suggested.


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