The AMAS test measures serum levels of AMA, an antibody found to be elevated in most patients with a wide range of active non-terminal malignancies. The initial study performed by SmithKline Laboratories supports the fact that Anti-Malignin Antibody is elevated almost regardless of the site or cell type of the malignancy; that is AMA, a general transformation antibody, not just one particular kind of cancer.
AMA is the antibody to Malignin, a 10,000 Dalton polypeptide which has been found to be present in most malignant cells regardless of cell type or location. The AMAS cancer test measures a well-defined antibody whose serum levels rise early in the course of the disease. In some cases the AMAS test has been positive (elevated) early, i.e. 1 to 19 months before clinical detection. On the other hand, since antibody failure often occurs late in malignancy, elevated antibody is then no longer available as evidence of the presence of antigen and therefore, late in the disease, the AMAS test cannot be used as a diagnostic test but may be useful for monitoring.