In a study by the University of California, San Francisco, the test successfully identified the patient's type of cancer in 95 percent of cases, based on the genomic characteristics of the tumor tissue.
Cancer treatment is normally specific to the type of cancer the patient has, but when the disease is metastatic, or spreading, determining where the cancer originated can be difficult.
The Tissue of Origin test, developed by Pathwork Diagnostics Inc. of Redwood City, Calif., measures the gene expression levels of more than 2,000 genes in a cancer tumor. It then compares the tumor materials to 15 tissues in the test's database, representing 90 percent of all tumor types, a company release said Monday.
The results of the university's study were published in the clinical chemistry journal Clinica Chimica Acta.
The test is the only molecular diagnostic test for tissue of origin cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Pathwork release said.