Geisinger study shows promise for detecting cancers

A blood test that can detect cancer early has shown what the Geisinger health network officials are calling “promising results.”

The study, called DETECT, uses a blood test developed by researchers at Maryland’s Johns Hopkins University. Geisinger used the test in a study of 10,000 women and found that it successfully screened for several types of cancer, including those for which there is no other screening test. Geisinger is a Pennsylvania-based health network headquartered in Danville, with locations throughout central, south-central and northeastern Pennsylvania.

Several participants in the DETECT (Detecting Cancers Earlier Through Elective Mutation-Based Blood Collection and Testing) 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.

“This test has the ability to detect cancers at an early stage when they are most amenable to treatment,” said Dr. David Rolston, 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.”

 Detecting cancer early allows for more effective treatment and higher survival rates, officials said.