The encouraging recent results of a 14-year study by the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening could herald a radical departure from the approach established by other screening tests for cancer, providing the final data is sufficiently conclusive, says an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.
The study, which involved 46,237 post-menopausal women aged 50 and over, tracked increases in levels of a protein, CA-125, in their blood. Using statistical analysis, 86% of women developing invasive epithelial ovarian cancer were correctly identified through this method.
Final data analysis is expected in late 2015, when researchers hope to demonstrate that finding a rising level of CA-125 in the blood can be used to detect cancer at an early stage, when treatment is most successful.
According to Andrew S. Thompson, Ph.D., GlobalData’s Senior Analyst covering In vitro Diagnostics, an approved CA-125 screening test for ovarian cancer would likely see rapid uptake by physicians.
Thompson explains: “An approved test, provided on an annual basis, could expect to see over 130 million women over the age of 50 undergoing screening in the US and five European countries (5EU: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK).
“According to GlobalData’s research, among the seven leading economies with established cancer screening programs (the US, 5EU, and Japan), the market value for a blood-based ovarian cancer screening test could be almost $8 billion per annum. Furthermore, with an aging population, the pool of eligible individuals can only increase.”
While the analyst warns that a new ovarian cancer screening test would expect to come under intense scrutiny from regulators, a CA-125 screening assay has no competition, as screening is currently not recommended for women at low risk from ovarian cancer.
Thompson continues: “This new CA-125 ovarian cancer screening test would differentiate itself from other in vitro screening tests with its personalized nature, as it would be based not on a universal view of a population, but on each individual’s own physiology.
“Such a test could define a new generation of personalized cancer screening tests, but whether this revolution happens depends largely on the final outcome of the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening.”
GlobalData is a leading global research and consulting firm offering advanced analytics to help clients make better, more informed decisions every day. Our research and analysis is based on the expert knowledge of over 700 qualified business analysts and 25,000 interviews conducted with industry insiders every year, enabling us to offer the most relevant, reliable and actionable strategic business intelligence available for a wide range of industries.
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.