DETECT study findings published online in Science April 28
In the study, “Detecting Cancers Earlier Through Elective Mutation-Based Blood Collection and Testing” (DETECT), Geisinger researchers found that the blood test, called CancerSEEK, can successfully screen for several types of cancer, including those for which there is no other screening test. The test, developed by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, screens for 16 genes and abnormally high levels of 9 protein markers that may indicate the presence of cancer. The test is an early version of CancerSEEK, developed in 2016.
The results of the DETECT study were published online in Science on Tuesday, April 28.
“This study hits the sweet spot of what we look for as clinical researchers at Geisinger: we get to work with world-renowned researchers on evaluating technology that has the potential to greatly improve patient care, and we do it in a way that supports our patients throughout the study,” said Adam Buchanan, MS, MPH, associate professor at Geisinger’s Genomic Medicine Institute and principal investigator of the DETECT study.
Detecting cancer early, before it has spread, allows for more effective treatment and better health outcomes. Cancer screening tests like mammograms and colonoscopies can detect cancer early and decrease deaths from breast and colon cancer, but there are currently no effective screening tests for most other cancers.
Several participants in the DETECT study were found to have cancers, including ovarian cancer, for which there is no standard screening test. The test’s false-positive rate was low, meaning that very few people were referred for unnecessary follow-up testing or procedures. The test is designed to complement standard of care cancer screening.
“This test has the ability to detect cancers at an early stage when they are most amenable to treatment,” said David Rolston, M.D., chair of the Department of Medicine Specialties at Geisinger and study co-investigator. “If the test performs well in further studies, this will be a particularly important advance as, at the moment, the only cancers that can be detected early are breast and cervical cancers in women and colon cancers in men and women.”
“Because of our tremendous experience in large-scale genomics and precision health research over the last decade through the MyCode Community Health Initiative, Geisinger was uniquely positioned to be the sole healthcare partner with Johns Hopkins in conducting such a large clinical study to evaluate the potential of identifying cancer early, before clinical symptoms, when the chance of better outcomes and even cure are possible,” said David Ledbetter, Ph.D., executive vice president and chief scientific officer for Geisinger and study co-investigator.
More research is needed before the test can be used in routine patient care, and Geisinger researchers will continue to evaluate how this promising technology can support patient care.
“We at Geisinger are very fortunate to have been positioned to conduct the clinical portion of the DETECT study, and we are grateful to the more than 10,000 women who generously participated in it,” said Christian Adonizio, M.D., Geisinger oncologist and study co-investigator. “We hope that the findings from DETECT will ultimately improve the care of not only the community we are privileged to serve, but communities everywhere.”
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