‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’: Cancer Test Featured In Recent Episode Being Investigated

Khloe Kardashian was unsure about it and now it looks like she was right to be. CBS News is currently investigating the cancer test that was recently featured on an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Us Weekly reports.

Jim Plante, Founder and CEO of Pathway Genomics. Photo via CBS News
Jim Plante, Founder and CEO of Pathway Genomics. Photo via CBS News

It looks like the science behind the test, designed by Pathway Genomics, is years beyond the current scientific reality. The company claims that the cancer test can “detect a growing tumor in the body before the patient may notice symptoms.” Pathway Genomics administered the test on Kim Kardashian, her sisters Kim and Khloe, and her mother Kris Jenner during an episode of their show that aired in January.

But in an intervew, Dr. Max Diehn from Stanford University told CBS News that “we’re still years away from that possibility.”

CBS This Morning also interviewed Jim Plante, the CEO of Pathway Genomics, who sought to explain the company’s claims.

“We never say it replaces solid tissue biopsy,” Plante said. “It’s an additional tool in the toolbox.

Pathway Genomics tested the Kardashian blood and declared them to be all cancer free. Kris Jenner insisted that they get tested because of their family history. Kris Jenner’s mother, M.J. Shannon, is a breast cancer survivor and Kardashian sisters’ father, Robert Kardashian, died from esophageal cancer in 2003 at age 59.

“You give them a little bit of blood … and they can see if you’re predisposed to cancer,” Jenner said at the time. “It would be great if my kids would get tested to see if they carry any of the genes for cancer, because if [they do], then at least we can be prepared and do something about it.”

Khloe Kardashian was hesitant to get the test done. This led to a heated confrontation between Khloe and Kris Jenner on the show. Khloe said that she didn’t get the point of it and that she didn’t care.

“I haven’t been bugging you about this but I feel like you should really get on the bandwagon and try and get this DNA test done,” Kris said. “The BRCA test will tell you if you have a genetic susceptibility to getting breast cancer.”

“Fact: I’m going to die. You’re going to die. We’re all going to die!” Khloe shouted at Kris in response.

But although Kris Jenner expressed confidence in the science behind getting tested, CBS News reports the test could be giving patients a false sense of security about their health, which is a very dangerous thing to do.

According to an article on the CBS News website, the FDA sent Pathway Genomics a letter about their cancer test, called CancerIntercept, in September 2015. The letter from the FDA states that the claims that the test predicts whether someone has cancer or not are a cause for concern. CancerIntercept by Pathway Genomics does not have “adequate clinical validation and may harm the public health.”

The FDA has said that tests like CancerIntercept represents a “major health risk” because it can influence decisions that patients and physicians make about healthcare based on information that is not backed by real science. According to the article, the FDA doesn’t currently regulate tests like this, but they are currently drafting the regulatory infrastructure to do so.

On the January 17 episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Khloe clarified in a confessional that she didn’t want to get the test because her father seemed to get worse after his diagnosis was confirmed. Eventually, all of the daughters of Kris Jenner and Robert Kardashian got the test and it “revealed” that they were cancer-free. But based on what we know now about CancerIntercept and Pathway Genomics, that “diagnosis” may not be as comforting as they once thought.

[Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]