Dying to Find Out: The Cost of Time at the Dawn of the Multicancer Early Detection Era

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2023 May 15;EPI-22-1275. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-22-1275. Online ahead of print.


Cancer is a significant burden worldwide that adversely impacts life expectancy, quality of life, health care costs and workforce productivity. While currently recommended screening tests for individual cancers reduce mortality, they detect only a minority of all cancers and sacrifice specificity for high sensitivity, resulting in a high cumulative rate of false positives. Blood-based multicancer early detection tests (MCEDs) based on next generation sequencing and other technologies hold promise for broadening the number of cancer types detected in screened populations and hope for reducing cancer mortality. The promise of this new technology to improve cancer detection rates and make screening more efficient at the population level demands the development of novel trial designs that accelerate clinical adoption. Carefully designed clinical trials are needed to address these issues.