Are So-Called 'Liquid Biopsy' Cancer Tests The Real Deal?

A CBS News investigation is asking whether a supposedly revolutionary cancer test can actually back up its promising claims.

A company that markets what would be a revolutionary test for detecting cancer has become the focus of a CBS News investigation that asks: Can these claims possibly be true?

In a report that aired this week, correspondent Jim Axelrod found the company, Pathway Genomics, says its so-called "liquid biopsy" is able to accomplish what others say is years away.

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"CancerIntercept can detect a growing tumor in the body, before the patient may notice symptoms - it's like a cancer stethoscope for detecting and monitoring cancer," a marketing video claimed.

While Pathway Genomics cites the cancer research of Dr. Max Diehn as evidence, Diehn himself told CBS News the tests likely can't do what they promise.

"I think we're still years away from that possibility," Diehn said. "That absolutely requires thousands of patients, and long-term trials to prove that."

Axelrod spoke to Jim Plante, CEO of Pathway Genomics, who told him "we never say it replaces solid tissue biopsy... Yhe information can be used to help guide potential early diagnosis."

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Following the CBS interview, Pathway removed that marketing video from its website, telling the channel they had "proactively decided to limit some of our marketing activities associated with CancerIntercept."

For more on what the FDA had to say about the company's test, visit CBS News.

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