- 3 updates
A simple blood test which could detect the early signs of breast cancer would allow a woman to "take control of her own risk", a medical expert said.
Dr Matthew Lam, senior research officer at the charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer, described the findings as "definitely promising".
Data from a study into a potential blood test for breast cancer is "encouraging" as it would make early detection of the disease in all women much easier, a science chief has said.
Lead researcher on the study, Professor Martin Widschwendter, from University College London, said:
A blood test for breast cancer could soon be available and offer an early warning system for all women, not just those with the BRCA genes, scientists said.
Experts found a molecular "switch" in blood samples which increase a women's chances of having breast cancer.
The marker is associated with the BRCA1 breast cancer gene but was also found in other breast cancer patients who went on to develop the disease.
Before this blood test there was no way of predicting the likelihood of breast cancer in someone if the disease did not run in their family.
Around 10% of breast cancers are caused by BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene variants inherited from parents, leaving 90% of cases unexplained.