Manchester success in ovarian cancer screening trial

Researchers at Saint Mary’s Hospital and The University of Manchester have been instrumental in recruiting over 16,500 women to the largest clinical trial of its kind for ovarian cancer screening, UKCTOCS.

The trial, led by the University College of London involved thirteen Trusts across the UK, including Saint Mary’s Hospital, Manchester led by Dr Mourad W Seif and supported by the NIHR / Wellcome Trust Manchester Clinical Research Facility at Central Manchester NHS Foundation Trust.

One arm of the trial investigated the sensitivity of a new method of screening for ovarian cancer in over 46,000 women and the result of which has been reported by the journal of Clinical Oncology. The method uses a statistical calculation to interpret changing levels in women’s blood of a protein called CA125, which is linked to ovarian cancer. This gives a more accurate prediction of a woman’s individual risk of developing cancer, compared to the conventional screening method which uses a fixed ‘cut-off’ point for CA125.

The new method detected cancer in 86% of women with invasive epithelial ovarian cancer (iEOC), whereas the conventional test used in previous trials or in clinical practice would have identified fewer than half of these women (41% or 48% respectively).

Dr Mourad W Seif, PhD, FRCOG, Consultant Gynaecologist at Saint Mary’s Hospital, Honorary Senior Lecturer at The University of Manchester, and Manchester Lead for UKCTOCS for the last twelve years said:

“These exciting results are only possible because of 14 years of work in partnership with clinical researchers, scientists and health professionals including those at Saint Mary’s Hospital, The Wellcome Trust, and The University of Manchester, and a high level of commitment from the participants.

“Having led this trial in Manchester, I acknowledge that these results are undoubtedly due to the hard work of my colleagues in the Trust.

“It is fantastic that we have been one of the successful contributors to the trial, and we are delighted that the results to date demonstrate the availability of a new screening method that could double the detection rate for ovarian cancer in post-menopausal women, and before symptoms occur.

“As the final results are expected before the end of the year, we have to wait to see whether these new screening methods will reduce mortality from ovarian cancer.”

The results come from analysis of one arm of the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS), the world’s largest ovarian cancer screening trial, led by UCL and funded by the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, Department of Health and The Eve Appeal.