Vol. 2 No. 4 (2022)
Horizon Scans

Emerging Multi-Cancer Early Detection Technologies

Published April 22, 2022

Key Messages

  • Horizon Scan reports provide brief summaries of information regarding new and emerging health technologies; these technologies are identified through the CADTH Horizon Scanning Service as topics of potential interest to health care decision-makers in Canada. This report is not an endorsement or assessment of any test or technology.
  • This Horizon Scan summarizes the available information regarding the emerging technology of liquid biopsy–based, multi-cancer early detection tests for cancer screening. This Horizon Scan focuses specifically on the Galleri (GRAIL Inc.) and CancerSEEK (Exact Sciences) tests, which are further along in the development cycle and are being assessed in different international clinical studies.
  • Multi-cancer early detection technologies aim to provide a new approach to complement traditional cancer screening programs. These tests examine genetic signals within blood samples with next-generation sequencing and computational algorithms to assess the presence and type of different cancers. Research to date has focused on describing results from training and validation studies that have provided initial estimates of test performance and modelling studies estimating the potential impact on cancer incidence.
  • This Horizon Scan also highlights some issues for health care decision-makers to consider about the technology relating to real-world test performance, the potential benefits and harms of screening with multi-cancer early detection tests, and the disruptiveness to health systems they could pose. Ongoing review of clinical trials and the emerging evidence base can help inform health systems in Canada about their potential role within cancer-control initiatives.