A collaborative project in the UK between researchers from the University of Oxford, the University of Exeter and Chiddenbrook Surgery, Crediton, could lead to GPs using simple blood tests to improve the early diagnosis of myeloma.
The study investigated the best combination of blood tests that could be used to diagnose the rare cancer within GP practices. It was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and has been published in the British Journal of General Practice.
During the project, the researchers tested how useful a number of different measures were for indicating the presence of myeloma and suggested what combinations of these tests could be used to diagnose or rule out the disease. This could save patients from the worry of a specialist referral.
It was demonstrated that a simple combination of two blood parameters could be enough to diagnose patients. Blood tests are routinely conducted in GP surgeries.
Blood tests of 2,703 cases taken up to five years prior to diagnosis were analysed compared with those of 12,157 patients without the cancer. Cases were matched with control patients of a similar age and other relevant parameters.
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