British trial of Galleri blood test found two in three cancers

The UK’s National Health Service trial identifies more than 50 types of cancers early

The test, still a 'work in progress', finds changes in genetic code. PA
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Diagnosis and treatment of more than 50 types of cancer could be accelerated after a successful blood test trial in the UK.

The Galleri blood test correctly found two of every three cancers in patients who had visited a doctor with suspected symptoms, and in 85 per cent of those positive cases it also pinpointed the original site of cancer.

The test, still a “work in progress”, finds changes in genetic code that identifies different cancers. Early identification of cancer is key to treating it.

"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 the patient in front of you what test is needed to see whether their symptoms are down to cancer," Prof Mark Middleton said.

"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."

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) has also been using the Galleri test on thousands of people without symptoms looking for undetected cancers.

The Symplify study, led by the University of Oxford, looked at 5,461 patients in England and Wales with suspected cancer who were referred to hospital by their GP.

More than 350 patients with suspected cancer symptoms were later found to have cancer using traditional methods.

Prof Brian Nicholson, co-lead investigator of the study, said "high overall specificity, positive predictive value, and accuracy of the cancer signal detected" could eventually mean the test can be "used to confirm that symptomatic patients should be evaluated for cancer before pursuing other diagnoses”.

Prof Helen McShane said: “We are committed to diagnosing cancers earlier, when they can be cured, and this study is an important step on that journey."

The University of Oxford sponsored the Symplify study and was responsible for data collection, analysis and interpretation.

Updated: June 02, 2023, 8:49 AM