On December 17, 2015 The Lancet out of the UK published the results of an ovarian cancer trial by researchers at University College London who say their work is the first to demonstrate the effectiveness of screening for the disease. They found that annual blood tests could help reduce women’s risk of dying from ovarian cancer by about 20 percent.
Ovarian Cancer Trial Results
The preliminary results of this recently completed trial appear encouraging as we continue to evaluate the ability to screen for early stage ovarian cancer. This trial utilized measurements of the CA125 blood test to screen post menopausal women for ovarian cancer. The good news is that 41% of the ovarian cancers detected were early stage (stage 1 or 2), which typically translates into a “cure.” The actual health outcomes for this study are still pending.
As in any screening population, false positive results occur and of the 640 women who had surgery for a “positive screen,” 441 patients had normal findings. Approximately 4.8 surgeries were performed for every ovarian cancer detected. These results however are better than previous large screening ovarian cancer trials.
This trial gives us very encouraging information to help us do a better job at detecting early stage ovarian cancer, which is generally curable. We will await the survival outcome data from this trial and continue to improve our screening strategies for this difficult disease.