Among four cancer-free people who tested positive, the United States authors say two women were diagnosed with ovarian and endometrial cancer just months later. "Clearly, this is just the beginning", Takabe said.
The test will use blood samples to search for cancer. The biopsy was reportedly most effective in detecting pancreatic, ovarian, liver, and gallbladder cancers, which are much more hard to treat if not diagnosed early.
The blood test involved three tests on the participants' blood samples and showed sensitivity in detecting 10 different types of cancer, including pancreatic, ovarian, lung and esophageal cancer, among others.
The test, referred to as a "liquid biopsy", looks for small pieces of DNA that are released from cancer cells into the blood.
More than 360,000 people in the United Kingdom are diagnosed with cancer each year, meaning that one person is told they have the disease every two minutes. For example, although the test detected ovarian cancer with 90% accuracy, only 10 ovarian cancers in total were detected.
It was 77 per cent accurate in diagnosing lymphoma, 73 per cent accurate for myeloma and 80 per cent accurate for liver and gall bladder cancers. Lung cancer was correctly detected in 59% of patients, while head and neck cancer was detected in 56% of patients.
"The vast majority of medical practice is based upon chief complaint", meaning a patient's first report that's something's wrong, Takabe said, adding, "The excitement about these liquid biopsies is, can we screen people who have absolutely no symptoms, no complaints" but have something in their blood that could hint at cancer?
For many common cancers, rates of survival triple when diagnosed at an early stage, according to Cancer Research UK.
Professor Nicholas Turner, from the Institute of Cancer Research, London, described the findings as "really exciting" and could be used for "universal screening".
One of the tests, which used sequencing to detect non-hereditary mutations, performed the best.
Most cancers are detected at advanced stages when treatment is more complicated and cure rates are low, the conference abstract states. "It could be given to healthy adults of a certain age, such as those over 40, to see if they have early signs of cancer".