Biotech company Freenome presented new research at the recent American Association of Cancer Research Special Conference on Pancreatic Cancer. The data showed the potential of extending Freenome’s multiomics approach to pancreatic cancer detection with biomarkers already embedded in the existing platform.

Freenome’s platform uses a routine blood test to detect cancer. “An accurate blood-based test like this could be a powerful tool for early diagnosis and treatment, impacting so many patients,” says Randall Brand, MD, professor of Medicine and Human Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and co-author of the study. “We are hoping to further validate the findings through additional studies, which are already underway.”

Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers, with an overall five-year survival rate of 11%. If pancreatic cancer detection is made at an early stage, the five-year survival rate increases to 42%. The only FDA-authorized test for pancreatic cancer is the carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (CA19-9), which is only cleared for monitoring response to therapy.

The retrospective study of 75 participants evaluated whether Freenome’s multiomics approach of combining methylation and CA19-9 signals (as a subset of existing analytes in the platform) detected pancreatic cancer at stages II, III, and IV with higher sensitivity than either alone.

Across all stages studied, Freenome’s approach achieved a sensitivity of 93% at a nominal specificity of 96%. At an identical specificity, the sensitivity of methylation or CA19-9 alone was 74% and 87%, respectively. In stages II, III, and IV, the multiomics approach achieved a sensitivity of 82%, 89%, and 100%, respectively.

This new study demonstrates that Freenome’s platform can be used for pancreatic cancer detection in addition to colorectal cancer (CRC), according to the company. Last year, Freenome presented data showing a sensitivity of 94% at a specificity of 94% for early-stage (I/II) CRC using their multiomics platform. Freenome’s CRC test is currently undergoing analytical and clinical validation.

“We’re demonstrating success in detecting CRC and advanced adenomas in blood. We’re now expanding our platform to detect additional cancers,” says Mike Nolan, chief executive officer of Freenome. “Our goal is to transform the way cancer of all types is managed by enabling early detection, and this data on pancreatic cancer is an important step in that direction.”