AMAS or AMA (Anti-Malignan Antibody) blood test for cancer | Cancer Research UK
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AMAS or AMA (Anti-Malignan Antibody) blood test for cancer

I have read about a blood test for cancer called AMAS. What is it and is it done here in the UK?

This page has information on a type of blood test called AMAS. You can use these links to take you straight down the page to sections about


What the AMAS blood test is

This blood test measures an antibody in the blood called anti malignin. Antibodies are proteins made by the immune system that help the body to fight disease.

Two American doctors have published information about anti malignin for many years. They said that anti malignin antibody levels were higher in people with early stage cancer. They developed a blood test and named it the AMAS test for Anti Malignan Antibody in Serum. They thought that the AMAS blood test would be a helpful way to find cancer cells in early stage cancer.

This test is not accepted by cancer specialists because of a lack of evidence that it is reliable. Some commercial companies still promote the AMAS test. They say that the test may help doctors learn more about the stage of their patients cancer and their outcome (prognosis). But there is no research evidence to support this claim. It is not safe for doctors to use the AMAS test alone to diagnose cancer. And it hasn’t been tested as a screening tool for the population in general so it is not safe to use it to screen people with no symptoms for cancer.


Research into the AMAS blood test

In 2000, an American study tested 154 healthy volunteers and 76 breast cancer patients with the AMAS test. The researchers compared the reliability of the AMAS test to other blood tests for tumour markers. Tumour markers are chemicals made by some cancers and measurable in the blood, for example CA125 in ovarian cancer and PSA in prostate cancer. This study found that the AMAS test was more sensitive than the other tumour markers tested. But the markers they tested are not any that are routinely used in breast cancer diagnosis. 

Another study in 2005 looked at the accuracy of this test in women having breast biopsies for suspected breast cancer. The researchers found the test was not accurate enough to be used instead of a biopsy. And the false positive rates were too high.

This is still very early research. We don’t know of any larger clinical trials using the AMAS test as a way of helping to diagnose cancer. And we haven't found any published studies since the 2005 one mentioned above. Brochures and articles promoting the AMAS test often claim that it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration of America (FDA). But we were unable to find any evidence that the FDA had ever approved it.


Is the AMAS blood test available in the UK?

This is not a standard test to help diagnose people with cancer. We need a lot more research before we will know just how useful the AMAS test is for helping to diagnose cancer.

As far as we are aware the AMAS test is only available via commercial websites as it remains unproven.

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Updated: 12 April 2013