Company Unveils Blood Test for “The Cancer” in Dogs

I have now read a few articles about a new test that will hit the market soon. Here is an excerpt from a recent article...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Apr 13th 2010


I have now read a few articles about a new test that will hit the market soon. Here is an excerpt from a recent article in DVM Newsmagazine.

You may now be able to diagnose cancer in a dog with a simple blood test.

BioCurex has announced the availability of the OncoPet RECAF test, which has detected 85 percent of a variety of cancers in dogs at the standard 95 percent specificity level in premarket studies.

The test detects whether RECAF, a universal marker for malignant cell growth in animals and people, is present in the blood. RECAF’s expression is related to rapid cell growth, which is characteristic of cancer and fetal development. The same blood test is used in people.

The test definitely is intriguing, but testing for “cancer” is not unlike testing for “disease”. If the test is positive the information may be hard to use, since so many vastly different types of cancer exist. I would think that specific blood markers for each type of cancer would be more useful.

However, I’m not complaining. Theoretically the OncoPet RECAF test could become a part of general wellness screening. A positive result would be an indication for further tests such as ultrasound, CT scans, or endoscopy.

Nonetheless, the test and the way it is being promoted sound slightly gimmicky to me. And I worry that false negative results could lead to a false sense of security among some owners. False positives, on the other hand, could lead to needless worry and expensive (and possibly invasive) cancer searches.

At this time I’m not sure how useful the test will be. I hope that it turns out to be an asset to clients, patients, and vets.