Blood test finds two-thirds of cancers

  • Date: 29 June 2023

A NEW blood test was found to identify two-thirds of cancers in more than 5,000 patients who visited their GP with non-specific symptoms.

The test, known as Galleri, can detect over 50 types of cancer and could prove effective in early diagnosis. It works by detecting fragments of cancer DNA in the bloodstream and has been developed by US biotechnology company GRAIL.

Patients taking part in a large scale evaluation of Galleri had their diagnostic tests in the normal way and also gave a blood sample, which was later compared against their health record. They had been referred for tests for possible gynaecological, lung, lower or upper gastrointestinal cancers, or had non-specific symptoms that could be caused by cancer.

The Galleri test detected a cancer signal in 323 people, 244 of whom were diagnosed with cancer. Overall, 368 patients of the 5,461 evaluable patients were diagnosed through standard of care.

Results of the evaluation (SYMPLIFY) are due to be published in the Lancet Oncology.

Professor Mark Middleton, former cancer co-theme lead at NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre and co-lead investigator on the study, said: "The test was 85 per cent accurate in detecting the source of the cancer - and that can be really helpful because so many times it is not immediately obvious when you have got the patient in front of you what test is needed to see whether their symptoms are down to cancer.

“With that prediction from the test, we can decide whether to order a scope or a scan and make sure we are giving the right test the first time."

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