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  • 1 December 2018 to 30 March 2020
  • Project No: 424
  • Funding round: FR17

Ovarian cancer is the 6th most common cause of cancer related death in UK women. The majority of women are diagnosed late, and only 46 out of every 100 UK women survive for 5 years after diagnosis. Early diagnosis is likely to result in better patient outcomes including survival. 

However, early diagnosis is challenging. The symptoms of ovarian cancer are vague and the same symptoms occur in non-worrying medical conditions, so it is can be difficult for GPs to decide which patients require urgent referral to hospital and which can be reassured. The cancer marker CA125, measured by a simple blood test, can be used to investigate symptoms which might be caused by ovarian cancer in patients attending their GP, and its use is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). However, currently we don’t know how effective CA125 is at picking up ovarian cancer when used in primary care, or what CA125 level in the blood is concerning. 

In this study, using anonymised patient records from over 120,000 women who have had a CA125 test in general practice, we will determine how effective CA125 is at picking up cancer. We will also identify what level of CA125 in the blood should prompt further tests or referral, and whether we should use different levels for different groups of women, for example, women who are older. This work will help ensure that CA125 is used effectively in general practice and should contribute to the early detection of ovarian cancer.

Amount awarded: £14 850

Projects by themes

We have grouped projects under the five SPCR themes in this document

Evidence synthesis working group

The collaboration will be conducting 18 high impact systematic reviews, under four workstreams.