Early Cancer Detection Consortium

FUNDER

Cancer Research UK

VALUE

£153,650 (Feb 14 - Oct 15)

COLLABORATORS

Lead:

Prof Ian Cree (Professor of Pathology, UHCW NHS Trust);

Collaborators

Prof Ala Szczepura (Professor of Health Technology Assessment);

Becky Whiteman (Centre for Technology Enabled Health Research);

Dr Richard Savage (Warwick Medical School);

Mrs Linda Yates (PPI representative);

Mr James Leach (PPI representative);

Dr Angela Cox (University of Sheffield);

Prof Caroline Chapman (University of Nottingham);

Prof Tony Whetton (University of Manchester);

Prof Jacqui Shaw (University of Leicester);

Dr Michael Messenger (St James’s University Hospital, Leeds);

Dr Sian Taylor‐Phillips (Warwick Medical School);

Prof Annie Young (Warwick Medical School);

Dr Dawn Teare (ScHaRR, Sheffield University);

Dr Sophie Whyte (ScHaRR, Sheffield University);

Dr Gozde Ozakinci (University of St Andrews School of Medicine) for the Early Cancer Detection Consortium.

PROJECT OBJECTIVES

Cancer detection is currently still largely reliant on symptomatic presentation and screening programmes that look for cancers of one particular type, in pre-defined populations. 

Recent developments suggest the possibility of a blood-based screening test for multiple tumour types.

Systematic reviews and evidence gathering are being undertaken to answer the following questions:

  • What technologies exist that could be used for general cancer screening from a repeated blood sampling on a regular basis, and what is their state of development?
  • What are the population and individual considerations for implementation and what would prospective patients find acceptable?

RESEARCH IMPACT

There is substantial evidence that diagnosis of cancer at an early stage can lead to improved survival, but there is scope for significant improvement in early detection.  It may be feasible to develop a high-sensitivity general screen for cancer using multiple proteins and nucleic acids present in the blood of cancer patients, based on the biological characteristics of cancer. 

Positive samples from the general screen could be submitted automatically for secondary screening using tests to further define the likelihood of cancer and provide some indication of its type.  Only those tested and found to be at high risk through this process would be referred for further clinical assessment to permit early treatment and mitigate potential over-diagnosis. 

A rapid systematic mapping review was undertaken to establish “What biomarkers exist that could be used to develop a general cancer screening assay from blood sampling and what is their state of development?”

In addition, population and individual considerations for implementation are being examined through:

  • a systematic review of the available evidence to determine the acceptability to patients;
  • a draft economic model to explore the likely costs and the potential impact on patient outcomes (including treatment, quality of life, morbidity and mortality) of a generic screen for cancer in a UK population;
  • a Delphi exercise to explore acceptability to the NHS of widespread adoption of a general screen for cancer using a single blood test, including key implementation issues.

Success could rewrite cancer pathways and make cancer a survivable disease for the majority of patients.

Conferences

Whiteman BL, Turner A, Ozakinci O, Grunfeld B, Baines D, Radford M, Young A, Szczepura A, Cree I.  (16th-17th September 2014). Acceptability of new generic blood tests for early tumour detection and development of an associated on-line peer-support programme (eCOPE). Public Health England Annual Conference 2014, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK.  Poster presentation

Whiteman BL, Turner A, Ozakinci O, Grunfeld B, Baines D, Radford M, Young A, Szczepura A, Cree I.  (2nd-5th November 2014). Acceptability of new generic blood tests for early tumour detection and development of an associated on-line peer-support programme (eCOPE). 10th National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference, Liverpool, UK.  Poster presentation 

Cree I, Uttley L, Harnan S, Whiteman BL. (2nd-5th November 2014). The UK Early Cancer Detection Consortium - Building the evidence base of blood-based biomarkers for early detection of cancer. 10th National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference, Liverpool, UK. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.4644.5608 Poster presentation

Prospero Registrations 

Becky Whiteman, Aleksandra Sobota, Gozde Ozakinci, Victoria Cormie, Ala Szczepura. “Building the evidence base for patient acceptability in screening and early detection of cancer”. PROSPERO 2014:CRD42014012941.

Lesley Uttley, Sue Harnan, Becky Whiteman, Ian Cree. “Building the evidence base of blood-based biomarkers for early detection of cancer”. PROSPERO 2014:CRD42014010827.