- A single blood test was able to detect multiple cancer types at early stages with a low false positive rate in study results presented this weekend in a poster at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in Chicago.
- The test also identified where the cancer originated in the body in 90% of cases, according to developer Grail.
- The company, whose high-profile backers include Amazon and Bezos Expeditions, Bill Gates, Alphabet venture arm GV, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Celgene, Merck and McKesson, said it would move forward in developing the test toward commercialization based on the data.
FDA last month granted breakthrough device designation to Grail’s methylation technology to detect multiple cancer types and identify where in the body the cancer originated, using a proprietary database and machine-learning algorithms. Armed with FDA’s blessing and more than $1.5 billion in equity financing raised, Grail is forging ahead in its quest to bring an early-detection cancer test to reality.
The company is not alone, however, in this pursuit, and will have competition from a number of other players working to bring blood-based cancer tests to market including Guardant Health, Exact Sciences and Verily-backed Freenome.
Menlo Park, California-based Grail reported data for its next-generation sequencing (NGS) test from an initial analysis of 2,301 patients that showed an overall detection rate of 55% for more than 20 cancer types across all stages. The detection rate for 12 of the most lethal cancer types was 76%.
Broken down by cancer type for stages I through III, detection rates were 59% for lung cancer, 74% for colorectal cancer, 64% for hormone receptor negative breast cancer, 70% for lymphoma, 78% for pancreatic, 86% for head and neck, 71% for multiple myeloma, 67% for ovarian, 76% for esophageal, 68% for liver, 79% for anorectal and 78% for gastric.
Detection at early stages in the 12 deadliest cancer types was 34% at stage I, 77% at stage II and 84% at stage III.
The test determined the tissue of origin in 94% of the 20 cancer types and 76% of the 12 deadly cancer types.
The data presented at ASCO represented a subset of Grail’s Circulating Cell-free Genome Atlas study that has enrolled about 15,000 patients with and without cancer in the United States and Canada.