What can a “cancer test kit” tell us? I tried a home-based genetic and microRNA cancer test. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

What can a “cancer test kit” tell us? I tried a home-based genetic and microRNA cancer test.

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE
Contents of MySignal Scan, which tests for current cancer risk using microRNA in urine. Inside the box are a cup for collecting urine, packing materials, and an instruction manual.

In March, Yu Hatanaka of the comedy duo Oswaldo made headlines when he had one kidney completely removed due to kidney cancer. Fortunately, the cancer was detected at an early stage, and he has already returned to work, but the reason for the discovery was that he happened to be concerned about the health of his friend Mogura Suzuki of KUKI KAIDAN, who underwent a checkup.

It is often heard that “by the time cancer is detected, it is too late. However, there are probably many people who know that they should go for regular cancer checkups, but are unable to go. They have to apply for the test for each type of cancer, and the schedule and location of the test are often different, giving the impression that it is just a hassle.

Perhaps because of this, there has been an increase in the number of test kits that can be done at home in recent years. This reporter tried out a testing package called “MySignal ®︎,” which has been available since 2010. MySignal®︎” is a series of test kits, and there are two types: “MySignal Scan” (69,300 yen), which uses microRNA in urine to test the risk of cancer, and “MySignal Navi” (19,800 yen), which uses a genetic test to determine what type of cancer you are likely to develop. I’m going to apply for both of them for now. I decided to apply for both for the time being.

I received two small boxes. The “Scan” box contained a kit for urine testing, and the “Navi” box contained a kit for collecting bodily fluids, packing materials for mailing each box, and simple instructions on how to perform the test.

The QR code on the manual allows you to register on a dedicated website and fill out a web application form. Questions include age, height, weight, lifestyle habits such as drinking and smoking, medical history, and cancer history in the immediate family. The test is also very easy. For the “Scan” test, you simply collect urine in the provided container, and for the “Navi” test, you simply send in a sponge with the provided kit. It took only about 30 minutes to complete the registration process.

The results arrived about two weeks later for the “Scan” and about a month for the “Navi. Mr. Naoki Matsumoto, a spokesman for Craif Corporation, the developer of the “MySignal ®︎ series,” explained the contents of the tests and how to read the results (remarks by Mr. Matsumoto).

In February 2010, we launched the cancer risk test “MySignal Scan” with the goal of early detection of cancer. We have further expanded the lineup to include a cancer-specific genetic test, “MySignal Navi,” which was released in November of last year as the “Cancer Control Set.

Cancer is said to be caused by two factors: the first is “genetic factors” determined by genes inherited from parents. The other is “environmental factors,” in which genes are damaged by daily lifestyle habits and the surrounding environment, and the risk of cancer increases. By approaching cancer from both of these perspectives, comprehensive cancer control can be achieved.

In addition to individual purchases, it is also possible to have the test performed at more than 600 medical institutions nationwide that are currently partnered with the company. The “MySignal ®︎ Series” is unique in that it provides test results for each of the seven cancer types, as well as for ovarian and pancreatic cancers, for which screening has not yet been established. Pancreatic cancer is particularly dangerous, with a five-year survival rate in the 8% range, the lowest of all cancer types.

Let us begin with an explanation of the “scan,” which is said to detect cancer risk at an early stage. The “scan” examines microRNAs in urine, but how does it work?

Cancer cells send signals to normal cells to change them into cancer cells. The microRNAs serve as signals at that time. For example, cancer cells in gastric cancer produce dozens of specific microRNAs, and each cancer type sends messages with different combinations of microRNAs. The system determines the risk of cancer cells by looking at these microRNAs.

The results are calculated by comparing the characteristic patterns learned by the AI from the urine of cancer patients with the patterns of those who undergo the test and how close they are.

MicroRNA is a very small substance, one millionth of a millimeter in size. It is very fragile, and stable testing requires advanced technologies for extraction, measurement, and analysis.

We have conducted joint research with about 30 university hospitals and cancer research centers throughout Japan for many years. As a result of our research, we have acquired a number of patented technologies, including AI analysis technology, and by using these technologies to obtain and analyze data from a urine library of more than 10,000 cases, we have made it possible to detect cancer risk from stage 1 by type.

The test results are in a booklet of about 20 pages. The first page of the booklet contains a summary of the total results, followed by detailed results for each of the five types of cancer: lung cancer, stomach cancer, colon cancer, esophageal cancer, and pancreatic cancer. In the case of women, ovarian cancer and breast cancer are added to the seven types of cancer.

At the beginning of the part for each cancer type, an “overall evaluation” is written in three levels: low, medium, and high. The evaluation is based on the “microRNA cancer risk,” which is a pattern evaluation of microRNAs, and the “personal cancer risk,” which is derived from the answers on the web application form.

For example, in my case, the “microRNA cancer risk score” for lung cancer was 37 and the “personal cancer risk score” was 47. If the overall rating is “low” and the patient has no current symptoms, there is no need for additional testing, so it seems unlikely that the patient has cancer at this time. The risk of other cancers was also “low.

If the result shows that the risk is high, at the end of the results page for each cancer type, there is a list of additional tests to be taken and a QR code that can be scanned to find out which medical facilities are available for those tests. This is a unique feature of “MySignal ®︎,” which shows the results for each cancer type.

The types of additional tests vary depending on the type of cancer. For example, CT scan for lung cancer, endoscopy for stomach cancer, and so on.

I have heard that the bottleneck is that if there is a possibility of cancer, a series of tests must be performed because some other test kits cannot identify the type of cancer. The fact that the cancer type can be identified seems to be a significant point. Next, I asked about the results of “My Signal Navi.

Compared to other genetic tests, there are not many cancer-specific genetic tests. Furthermore, MySignal Navi is unique in that it is tailored to the Japanese population and uses the latest next-generation equipment. The results do not indicate whether or not you currently have cancer, but rather which part of your body you were born with a tendency to develop cancer.

The results of the “My Signal Navi” are in a booklet of about 20 pages, and the basic structure is the same as that of the “Scan. However, the risk of each cancer type is determined by the results of the genetic test. Incidentally, my results showed that I was at “medium” risk for lung and colon cancer, and “low” risk for stomach, esophagus, and pancreas cancer. What should I make of this?

The results show that the risk of developing lung and colorectal cancer is slightly higher than the average for Japanese people. According to the National Cancer Center website, the risk can be reduced by about 40% by being careful about daily lifestyle habits such as drinking, smoking, and exercise. I hope you can think of the test as an opportunity for you to be aware of your daily lifestyle in order to consciously reduce your risk of cancer.

Well, the results of the “scan” showed that I am unlikely to have cancer now, but the results of the “navigator” said that I should be careful because I am actually prone to lung cancer and colon cancer. In my case, it ends up that I have to cut back on alcohol and cigarettes. ……

The best way to use the “MySignal ®︎ series” is to check your current cancer risk status once a year with the “Scan” after taking care of your daily lifestyle based on the “Navi” results. Although the price is not cheap, it may be a good idea to check regularly if you don’t want to be “too late”.

The overall risk rating (left page) for my current lung cancer risk as tested by “Scan” is just barely “low”. The overall rating is a total of the microRNA cancer risk score (right page) and the personal cancer risk score (next image).
Personal Cancer Risk Score (left page). The right page describes what to do after the test.
The results of the “Scan” test are “low risk” for all five cancers, which is a relief.
The cancers for which I am at risk based on the genes tested by “Navi”. Lung and colorectal cancers were found to be “medium risk.
Contents of the “MySignal® Navi” kit. The kit includes an instrument for collecting seminal fluid, packing materials, and an instruction manual.
MySignal®Scan” (left) and “MySignal®Navi

Photo Gallery7 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles