Innovative ovarian cancer screening using the ROCA Test now offered nationwide

Published: 25-Jan-2016

Evaluated in a 15-year, 200,000-subject clinical trial, test addresses a high unmet need in women’s health

With the announcement by the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS) that multimodal screening with the ROCA Test detects ovarian cancer at an earlier stage, the innovative testing is now being offered nationwide by private health group, BMI Healthcare.

BMI becomes the first UK-wide provider of the ROCA Test, a simple blood test that assesses the likelihood that a woman has ovarian cancer.

It is the first step in a multimodal assessment for ovarian cancer and is used to help healthcare professionals assess whether a woman should undergo additional, more-invasive testing including transvaginal ultrasound scan of the ovaries.

Following 670,000 screenings and over 15 years research, UKCTOCS has reported that multimodal screening using the ROCA Test identified 85 out of 100 cancers, usually before symptoms arise, twice as many as would have been detected using a conventional test, CA125. A recent Lancet paper provides evidence of a higher proportion of ovarian cancer diagnosed with low-volume early-stage disease.

UKCTOCS is one of the largest screening trials ever performed, involving a collaboration between 202,638 women, healthcare professionals, universities, the NHS, GP practices and UK funding agencies, including the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, the National Institute of Health Research and The Eve Appeal.

In the UK, only a third of the 7,000 women currently diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year survive the disease, mainly because its symptoms, including abdominal pain, bloating and nausea are general and may not be identified as ovarian cancer until a later stage when this aggressive cancer is more difficult to treat.

Nichola Evans, group director of oncology and lead for BMI Healthcare’s ROCA testing, said: “The ROCA Test enables us to detect ovarian cancer earlier, even where there are no apparent symptoms, and it is particularly useful for monitoring women who have a high genetic risk of the disease.

“By enabling earlier diagnosis, the ROCA Test will help us to treat women earlier than we can currently. The recent results from UKCTOCS demonstrating an estimated mortality reduction attributable to ovarian cancer screening of 15 to 28%, allows us to speculate that ovarian cancer screening using the ROCA Test will soon become as routine as screening for breast cancer.”

Dr Julie Barnes, chief ececutive of Abcodia, the company that pioneered the ROCA Test, added: “BMI Healthcare has agreed to provide the ROCA Test as an integrated part of its testing services for women. This is testimony to the high performance of the test and we congratulate the company for its leadership and commitment to improving the way ovarian cancer is detected. We look forward to working with the BMI gynaecological consultants and screening clinics to ensure the delivery of a quality service.”

Women in the UK have a 1 in 54 chance of developing ovarian cancer, but this rate can be increased by a number of factors including family history, such as those women who carry the faulty BRCA gene, age and weight.

Unavailable on the NHS, BMI Healthcare’s ROCA screening programme will offer the test for £150, plus a consultation fee.

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