A blood test can accurately detect biomolecular markers of bladder cancer resulting from environmental carcinogens, according to a study.

Carmen J. Marsit, PhD, of the Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University in Providence, R.I., and colleagues reported online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Oncology that the blood test measures a pattern of methylation—a chemical alteration to DNA that is affected by exposure such carcinogens as cigarette smoke and industrial pollutants. In a study of 112 bladder cancer patients and 118 controls, those exhibiting the methylation pattern were 5.2 times more likely than those without the pattern to have bladder cancer.

“What we might be measuring is an accumulated barometer of your life of exposures than then put you at risk,” said Dr. Marsit, Assistant Professor of Medical Science in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

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