A simple blood test which predicts a woman's likelihood of suffering breast cancer is being developed by scientists.

For the first time, researchers have identified a way of discovering whether a woman is at risk even if she has no genetic predisposition. Within five years they hope to develop a test which can predict the danger of breast or ovarian concern for up to a decade ahead.

Experts yesterday said that the findings were a "promising" and exciting prospect, which could in future help protect women.

The study, by scientists at University College London, found women who developed hereditary breast cancer, caused by a BRCA1 mutation, had the same changes to molecules in their blood as others who developed the disease despite having no genetic predisposition. The changes were found several years before diagnosis. "These results are definitely promising and we're excited to learn how further research could build on these findings," Dr Matthew Lam, senior research officer at the charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said.


"This could mean that in the future a woman may be able to have a simple blood test to look for this DNA signature, and therefore know if she is at a higher risk of developing breast cancer."