Home » What Common Blood Tests Can Detect Early Signs of Cancer


What Common Blood Tests Can Detect Early Signs of Cancer

While there is no simple blood test for predicting who will get cancer, there is a lot of information to be gleaned from basic blood work that, taken together, reveals much about an individual’s predispositions for many forms of cancer. By monitoring selected biomarkers routinely measured in primary care, you can learn a lot about physiological patterns that promote carcinogenesis, proliferation, progression, and recurrence long before tumor markers emerge or there are radiological or pathological findings indicating cancer.

The art of assessment lies in part in recognizing the patterns. By learning how to read the multiple biochemical signals that emerge from a pro-carcinogenic “tumor microenvironment,” you can begin to practice real prevention, and give your patients the opportunity for significant improvements in both health-span and lifespan.

The tests included in this article here are ones you are routinely ordering in the integrative and functional medicine setting. While they are not to be misconstrued as diagnostic tests for cancer, they can indicate that a patient is at increased risk, and that further assessment and action is required to identify potential malignancy.

In people who’ve had cancer, these common tests are often prognostic for disease progression and recurrence.

It is vital that primary care practitioners do a better job of recognizing the early signs of recurrence among cancer survivors. According to the American Cancer Society’s 2016-2017 Survivorship Facts and Figures, the population of cancer survivors will increase to 20.3 million by January 1, 2026.

After conventional oncology treatment is finished, these patients typically return to their primary care physicians. They are highly motivated, ripe for change, and in search of clinicians who can support their efforts to restore health and prevent recurrence.

The tests described below will help you fill that role.

Complete Blood Count

One of the most common biomarkers of overall health is the Complete Blood Cell panel, which can be used to monitor hematologic abnormalities caused by solid tumors, hematologic malignancies, as well as the side-effects of the therapies used to treat them.

The following findings are not definitive diagnostic signals, but taken together, they suggest that someone is at greatly increased risk:

  • Elevated White Blood Cells > 11.0 109/L
  • Elevated Platelets > 350 109/L
  • Low Hemoglobin <10.0 g/dL
  • High Neutrophil to Lymphocyte Ratio (NLR)

The latter finding—a high NLR—is especially important.

Neutrophils promote cancer progression, proliferation, and metastasis by increasing vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), Hepatocyte growth factors, inflammatory cytokines IL-6, IL-8, matrix metalloproteinases (MMP), and elastase. Neutrophils and macrophages secrete tumor growth promoting factors and contribute to a proliferative tumor microenvironment.

Therefore a high neutrophil count is suggestive of a neoplastic process somewhere in the body.

According to a 2014 metanalysis of 57 studies, an NLR greater than 4.0 was associated with a hazard ratio for overall survival (OS) of 1.81 (95% CI = 1.67 to 1.97; P < .001), an effect observed in all disease subgroups, sites, and stages and that predicts increased risk of mortality (Templeton AJ, et al. JNCI. 2014:106(6).)

Simply put, an NLR over 4 predicts tumor progression and poor overall survival. This is a readily available and inexpensive biomarker with a lot of prognostic value.


A fasting glucose in the range of 100-126 mg/dl is suggestive of cancer risk.

Glucose may have a direct role in cancer development. Tumor cells have increased numbers of receptors for insulin, insulin-like growth factor, and GLUT4. Thus, they transport more glucose into themselves, and this promotes growth and proliferation. It is the main reason for using a low-glycemic, modified ketogenic diet in patients with cancer.

Proliferating tumor cells have up- regulated glucose transporters. Elevated serum glucose is linked to increased risk and progression of many solid cancers, including breast cancer (Haseen SD, et al. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev, 2015:  16, 675-8).

High glucose levels also result in a state of chronic inflammation, which leads to an increase of cytokines, such as interleukin 6 (IL-6), tissue necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). All of these promote cancer progression, proliferation, and metastasis (Crawley DJ, et al. BMC Cancer, 14(1), 985).

Given the high prevalence of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and insulin resistance in the US, this is an important indicator to watch.

Serum glucose is a modifiable risk factor. Diet and lifestyle changes that reduce and regulate glucose will also help to reduce risk and progression of cancer.

High Insulin & Low SHBG 

Prolonged hyperinsulinemia leads to reduced hepatic production of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). This, in turn, increases risk of steroid hormone driven cancers. Low SHBG results in increased amounts of unbound estrogens and androgens that drive carcinogenesis in breast, endometrial, prostate lung, colorectal and pancreatic tissues.

Free unbound estrogen also exerts immunosuppressive effects in the tumor microenvironment, and has a profound impact on anti-tumor immunity and tumor-promoting inflammation that is completely independent from its direct activity on tumor cells (Svoronos N, et al. Cancer Discovery, 2017: 7(1), 72-85).

Low Serum Albumin

Serum albumin levels have prognostic significance in cancer, and can be used to better define baseline risk in cancer patients. It is generally useful in assessing the nutritional status, disease severity, disease progression, and prognosis.

In a multivariate analysis of 29 studies, Gupta and Lis found, “higher serum albumin levels to be associated with better survival.” (Gupta D, Lis CG. Nutrition Journal, 2010: 9(1), 69).

In the early stages of cancer, there is slight or no hypoalbuminemia. But as the disease progresses, malnutrition and inflammation suppress albumin synthesis, and albumin levels drop significantly.

Albumin levels under 3.5 g/dL are often seen in patients with sarcopenia and cachexia. Malnutrition is a predictor of reduced survival. It is also associated with deteriorating quality of life, decreased response to treatment, increased risk of chemotherapy-induced toxicity, and a reduction in cancer survival.

On the high side, albumin concentrations above 37.5 g/L are predictive of both chemotoxicity and of survival (Srdic D, et al. Supportive Care in Cancer, 2016: 24(11), 4495-4502).

It is also important to look at the Albumin-to-Globulin Ratio.

A ratio of less than 1.66 is a risk factor for cancer incidence and mortality, both short- and long term, in generally healthy screened adults. In people who’ve already developed some form of cancer, a low albumin-to-globulin ratio predicts low overall survival (Suh B, et al. Ann Ocol (2014): 25(11), 2260-2266).

Elevated Ferritin

Ferritin, a strong negative survival predictor, has been associated with the pathological processes of inflammation and infection. High ferritin is suggestive of inflammation, immunosuppression, tumor angiogenesis, and proliferation.

Elevated serum ferritin—indicated by levels over 200 ng/ml in men, and over 150 ng/ml in women–have been seen in people with breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, leukemia, colorectal cancer and lymphoma.

High ferritin levels are significantly associated with reduced survival time and increased mortality in cancer patients (Lee S, et al. J Cancer, 2016: 7(8), 957-964)

25-OH Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D has a multi-functional impact on the tumor microenvironment. Increased levels of Vitamin D are associated with reduced occurrence and reduced mortality of different types of cancer, including skin, prostate, breast, colon, ovary, kidney, and bladder.

Vitamin D is involved in a very wide range of physiological processes relevant to cancer development, including: Regulation of Gene Transcription; Growth Arrest; Apoptosis; Cellular Differentiation; DNA Repair; Antioxidant Protection; Immune Modulation; Regulation of Pro-Inflammatory Cytokines; and Control of Angiogenesis & Metastasis.

Low or suboptimal levels of 25-OH Vitamin D are associated not only with increased risk of various forms of cancer, but also with poor prognosis, and more aggressive disease (McDonnell SL, et al. PloS One, 2016: 11(4), e0152441).

This is particularly true in breast cancer. In one study, vitamin D-deficient women with breast cancer typically had more aggressive molecular phenotypes and worse prognostic indicators than those with adequate vitamin D (Williams JD, et al. Endocrinology, 2016: 157(4), 1341-1347).

The Vitamin D Council suggests repletion to 40 to 80 ng/mL, with a target of 50 ng/ml, for optimal health on multiple fronts, including colorectal cancer prevention (Bischoff-Ferrari HA, et al. Am J Clin Nutr, 2006: 84(1), 18-28).

Supplementation to reach mean serum concentrations of 72 nmol/L showed a beneficial effect  against cancer development (Lappe JM, et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007: 85(6), 1586-1591).

When assessing patients in the context of cancer risk, the following guidelines are useful:

25 –hydroxy- Vitamin D (ng/ml)

Deficient                                                        < 50

Optimal                                                           50-70

Optimal for Cancer & CVD                70-99

Excess                                                            >100

Elevated Lactic Acid Dehydrogenase

Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) is an enzyme that catalyzes the reduction of pyruvate to lactate.

Aberrant metabolism and inefficient fuel production is a characteristic of tumor cells, which are dominated by aerobic glycolysis, increased lactate production, and a higher uptake of glucose (the Warburg effect).

Elevated LDH may be a marker of these aberrant metabolic processes in cancer cells.

The normal range for LDH is thought to be 100-333 u/L, with levels greater than 245 u/L considered to be in the upper quartile of normal. Above that 245 u/L mark, it is suggestive of early carcinogenesis, tumor cell proliferation, tumor progression, and poor prognosis.

It is often highly elevated in aggressive forms of cancer and hematological malignancies including: melanoma, lymphoma, acute leukemia, seminoma germ cell, pancreatic, gastric, lung, renal cell, nasopharyngeal, esophageal, cervical, and prostate cancers (Wulaningsih W, et al. Br J Cancer. 2015:113(9). Zhang J, et al. Sci Rep. 2015:5, 9800).

Elevated C-Reactive Protein

C-Reactive Protein (CRP) is a well-established inflammatory marker. It is also a biomarker of cancer survival.

CRP is elevated in patients with solid tumors, and high levels predict poor prognosis, blunted treatment response, as well as tumor recurrence.

As part of the systemic inflammatory response to a tumor, the body releases pro-inflammatory cytokines and growth factors. Interleukin-6, produced by the tumor or surrounding cells, stimulates liver production of acute-phase reaction proteins that increase C-reactive protein (CRP) and fibrinogen.

Elevated CRP correlates with disease stage and increased cancer mortality (Shrotriya S, et al. PloS One. 2015: 10(12), e0143080). Individuals with a high baseline CRP (>3 mg/L) have an 80% greater risk of early death compared with those with low CRP levels (<1 mg/L).  

Patients with invasive breast cancer and CRP levels>3 mg/L at diagnosis have a 1.7 fold increased risk of death compared to those with CRP levels<1 mg/L at diagnosis (Allin KH, et al. Breast Cancer Res. 2011: 13(3), R55).

Converging Signals

No one of the aforementioned test parameters is, in and of itself, an indicator that someone has cancer. But by looking at standard blood test results in a new way, you can start to recognize the patterns of high risk and active cancer physiology. This is crucial to early identification and early intervention.

Clinicians who are aware of the converging signs can meaningfully shift the microenvironment from one that promotes cancer to one that is not supportive of carcinogenesis, proliferation, or progression. In the same way, we can provide meaningful support for the rising tide of underserved cancer survivors and at-risk patients in need of not only a disease plan, but also a health plan.


  1. teriuff says:

    Furthermore, we also found that OPC differentiation was stimulated, not only by the pro drug TMX citrate TMXC, but also by two main TMX metabolites, 4 hydroxy TMX and endoxifen injectable ivermectin It is a commonly missed and potentially treatable cause of chronic abdominopelvic pain

  2. teriuff says:

    nilotinib will increase the level or effect of propafenone by affecting hepatic intestinal enzyme CYP3A4 metabolism queen elizabeth stromectol plus they do their hold out through the use of using disruptive hacks from the game, which certified prospects to overall performance and stability issues, they receiving characters, gold, and objects stripped best suited after avid gamers going to a web site or opening a document that moncler vest for women contains a Trojan virus

  3. feagoke says:

    clomid vs nolvadex qRT PCR and Western blot analysis were performed to measure gene expression of tumor suppressor genes such as p53 and p16 A and C, and tumor promoting genes such as TERT and c Myc B and D in breast tumors of SV40 mouse offspring born to the mothers treated with the BSp diet

  4. BroambRob says:

    Through a descriptive research study examining the key concepts of weight training with or without creatine monohydrate, the researcher will gain a better understanding of the supplement result on changes in lean muscle mass buy real cialis online also not good for the source either

  5. fuedgeVex says:

    Different rows represent different locations along the length of esophagus meds similar to doxycycline Alba E et al 2012 Chemotherapy CT and hormonotherapy HT as neoadjuvant treatment in luminal breast cancer patients results from the GEICAM 2006 03, a multicenter, randomized, phase II study Ann Oncol 23 12 3069 74 DOI 10

  6. sweerne says:

    Liu C, Pham K, Luo D, Reynolds BA, Hothi P, Foltz G, Harrison JK what is the generic name for lasix Depressive symptoms in women recovering from breast cancer treatment have been associated with fatigue, pain, sleep disturbances, low libido, poor financial status and social support, and a range of other psychological factors 2

  7. sweerne says:

    Food and Drug Administration and Interpol, coincides with the surge of unproven cancer cures hawked by Internet sellers, the FDA warns furosemide 100 mg The therapeutic agent may be administered together with a compound of formula I, VIII, or XVI, or may be administered prior to or following administration of a compound of formula I, VIII, or XVI

  8. cricile says:

    A phase III Egyptian trial presented by Zaghloul et al Abstract 351 at the 2019 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium focused on the benefit of adjuvant chemotherapy in patients with locally advanced bladder cancer treated with postoperative radiotherapy buy liquid cialis online

  9. Indiffmen says:

    the instant my dad clan do move to their own individual farm building, your dad seemed to be to seven years of age buy zithromax for pets Additional subgroup analyses according to time of random assignment and patient characteristics were conducted, although they were not preplanned

  10. intilla says:

    33 As demonstrated in our analysis from a Medicare payer perspective, a reduction in readmission rates after CHF hospitalization could profoundly impact costs to Medicare buy cialis canada pharmacy 1957 12 31 2011 12 07 Canada Vertirosan Vitamin B6 Zäpfchen Dimenhydrinate 50 mg Pyridoxine hydrochloride 50 mg Suppository Rectal Sigmapharm Arzneimittel Gmb H 1962 03 29 Not applicable Austria มาโนไดสิค Dimenhydrinate 50 MG Pyridoxine 20 MG Tablet บริษัท โรงงานเภสัชกรรมแหลมทองการแพทย์ จำกัด จำกัด 1986 12 30 Not applicable Thailand เวนซิกซ์ Dimenhydrinate 50 MG Pyridoxine 10 MG Capsule บริษัท โมเดิร์น ฟาร์มา จำกัด 2013 01 14 Not applicable Thailand เวอร์ตามิน Dimenhydrinate 25 MG Pyridoxine 25 MG Tablet, sugar coated Oral ห้างหุ้นส่วนจำกัด โรงงานเลิศสิงห์เภสัชกรรม 1985 04 02 Not applicable Thailand

  11. asterrery says:

    We explored the renal protective effects of sodium glucose cotransporter 2 inhibition with empagliflozin, with a focus on glomerular hemodynamic effects and tubuloglomerular feedback using in vivo multiphoton microscopy imaging techniques dosage of viagra Related to Anesthesia Operations on the facial nerve usually are performed under general anesthesia

  12. Joispot says:

    The objectives of INT 0100 were to determine 1 if CAFT was superior to the 1988 standard of tamoxifen alone in postmenopausal women with node positive, receptor positive disease; and 2 if CAF followed by tamoxifen was better than concurrent CAFT lasix and sulfa allergy

  13. arteple says:

    In fact, up to 90 of patients have been shown to report new onset daily severe headaches as their primary symptom xanax and viagra Each of the 3867 records was screened independently by the reviewers, who were supervised by the consultants

  14. pitrece says:

    If it s been at least 3 days since you expected your period to come, I d say go ahead and check If it hasn t, I d hold off because there s nothing like checking, seeing the negative, and then seeing your period later that day or the next order accutane online Currently more than two thirds of the fish caught in U

  15. cervami says:

    Also, melatonin is contraindicated with some cancers, with some sleep or anti anxiety medications, and in people who have some psychiatric conditions clomid pill The pandemic is no excuse to abandon chronic disease management and prevention

  16. aloth says:

    Verkaufe meinen Arcadeautomatem von der Firma Arcade4you. Dazu enthalten sind die Lautsprecherboxen… Mini Paper Arcade Machine  Top restaurierter Sega Astro City Arcade Automat mit Jammaanschluss. Pros: SГ¤mtliche Plastikteile sind neu. Neue Buttons und Josytick. Neu lackiert. Neue… Finde die Entwicklung mit so groГџen Formteilen nicht gut. Und solche Automaten lassen sich mit normalen Steinen gut bauen, auch wenn es dann vielleicht € 14,99 sind. Die Idee ist supper ! Ich wünsche mir eine in Hamburg bitte! Bei der Infiltrierung der russischen Militäranlage werdet ihr zwangsläufig über die Automaten stolpern, denn diese befinden sich alle in der Spielhalle, durch die ihr im Laufe der Mission mit Frank Woods kommt. Folgende Spiele könnt ihr hier freischalten:
    Leider mГјssen wir an dieser Stelle konstatieren, dass es so gut wie gar kein Online Casino mit ELV gibt. Die Online Casino Erfahrungen zeigen, dass die GrГјnde dafГјr vielfГ¤ltig sind. Die Zahlungsart scheint sich im Gegensatz zu vielen anderen Optionen nicht wirklich durchzusetzen. Eventuell ist den Anbietern selbst das Risiko zu hoch, in Vorleistung treten zu mГјssen. MГ¶glicherweise schreckt dann doch der Kostenapparat ab, der im Zweifel auf die Anbieter zukommt, wenn es vermehrt zu RГјcklastschriften kommt. Von dieser Warte aus kann man die Anbieter vielleicht sogar verstehen, so dass es so gut wie kein Casino mit ELV auf dem Markt gibt. Denn Mensch und Automat wollen eine gute Einheit bilden, dann taucht ein Untermenü in Form von Blasen auf. Top Online Casinos können oft auch ein Live Casino mit zahlreichen Live Dealern und Live Dealer Spiele bieten, über das man dann zu der gewünschten Einstellung gelangt.

  17. reicy says:

    For this method, you want to place your AddictaLash magnetic lashes in an empty container and then pour the makeup remover (e.g: Micellar water) on top. Make sure the makeup remover covers the lashes, as you want it to dissolve the makeup and the eyeliner left on the lashes. I didn’t want black liner, so I was super excited to find this stuff. I wanted to love it, but after using it a couple times, I just couldn’t. It never dried all the way and my eyelids felt sticky all day. I will say the lashes did stay put, though. I don’t usually write reviews, but I wanted to let others know the “customer service” is non-existent. I have emailed this company three times with absolutely no response. Buy at your own risk… And don’t expect a refund if this liner turns out to not be right for you, either.
    Fantastic massage! Very relaxing environment To help escape from reality and relax. If you’re looking for a firm massage, Josh is fantastic. A DayDreams Day & MedSpa gift certificate is the solution to your gift-giving woes. Allow that special person to take time to themselves and experience a soothing spa treatment in a tranquil environment. Purchase Gift Certificates. A partner of British spa company ESPA, the Westin hotel’s 6,000-square-foot hideaway attracts locals and hotel guests alike Our spa services are designed for all ages and occasions, whether that’s easing stress, reviving and energizing for your time in the mountains, or having a little “me time.” We deliver the latest innovations in healing skin care, relaxing body services, versatile cuts and color, and much more – all while utilizing the highest quality of products. Our therapeutic day spa is designed to offer you the very best salon and spa services in the Tri-Cities.

  18. affetle says:

    05- 1mg are usually prescribed for MTHFR heterozygous, most ladies take at least 800mcg of folic acid but not necessarily the whole 5mg dose indicated for homozygous MTHFR and not necessarily extra B6 and B12 cialis prices 4 This could partly explain the lower correlation between this dextromethorphan breath test and endoxifen pharmacokinetics in comparison with our study results

  19. Главными основами всех государств
    служат хорошие законы и хорошо организованные войска.
    Без хорошо организованного войска в государствах не могут поддерживаться хорошие законы;
    где хорошо организовано войско, там обыкновенно бывают и хорошие
    законы. Психологичные характеристики.

Comments are closed.