Best J, 2015, Cancer Cell (Link to abstract)
It has been previously established that mRNA expression and splicing in platelets is affected by their interactions with other cells. This group hypothesized that they could detect cancer by examining platelet mRNA. Using next generation sequencing they found a high (>97%) sensitivity and specificity for detecting cancer in general using platelet mRNA. With less accuracy they were also able to discriminate between different carcinoma types. There is also some ability to detect canonical mutations using this method such as KRAS mutations in colorectal cancer.
* “Liquid biopsies” are going to be a clinical thing in the near future. Whether they come in the form of plasma “cell free DNA” tests, circulating tumor cells, or this technique using platelet mRNA, you will see likely see them in your practice soon.