'Breakthrough' blood test could detect ovarian cancer in its earliest stages

Blood test

In today’s news, a blood test has been hailed a ‘possible holy grail’ in the early detection of ovarian cancer. 

The study, presented at the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference looked at the results of a ‘liquid biopsy’ testing for a number of cancers, including ovarian.

The test looked for DNA released by cancer cells into the blood to detect early-stage cancers. In the study, scientists experienced a 90% accuracy rate in detecting ovarian cancer. It is important however to acknowledge this was a small study and the number of people found to have ovarian cancer was small (ten). The test also screened for nine other cancers, with variable success.

Authors of the paper described their findings as promising in regards to a multi-cancer screening test but acknowledged further clinical development is necessary – and we agree. We think this technology is exciting but further research is needed.

Early detection is vital in providing women the best possible treatments and survival of ovarian cancer. We recently launched our appeal to raise £1 million to fund our research to develop a screening tool, led by Professor Ahmed at the Weatherall Institute for Molecular Medicine at the University of Oxford. Read our interview with Professor Ahmed about the significance and potential impact of this work.

Click here to donate to Professor Ahmed's work at the University of Oxford