Which cancer diagnostic tests will work best in primary care? New CanTest Framework published today will help provide answers

The CanTest Framework, which provides a conceptual approach for the evaluation of cancer diagnostic tests from development to routine use in primary care has been published today in BMC Cancer.

Developed by the CanTest Senior Faculty team, this new framework addresses some key aspects missing from previous approaches. It incorporates a shift in focus away from a single test towards an evaluation of its integration into a diagnostic strategy. Greater clarity around the changes in test performance from highly selected populations towards the final intended, lower prevalence population are considered. Also included is the cyclical or non-linear, back and forth development between phases of research during test evaluation and development.

Created following a systematic scoping review of existing frameworks for the evaluation of tests and diagnostic approaches, the CanTest Framework proposes five iterative research phases forming a clear translation pathway from new test development to health system implementation and evaluation.Dr Fiona Walter, CanTest co-Director and lead author, said of the Framework:

“The first major task that the CanTest Collaborative undertook was to develop this framework, which now underpins our more than 25 core CanTest studies. It provides a strong conceptual framework for further emerging studies and developing collaborations. We hope that it will be equally useful for other primary care cancer researchers and across a wide range of other stakeholders.”

Providing a conceptual approach to support the development, implementation and evaluation of cancer diagnostic tests that are fit for purpose when introduced into clinical practice, the framework is also applicable to the development and evaluation of many diagnostic and screening tests which are intended for use in low prevalence populations and has relevance for a wide range of stakeholders including patients, policymakers, purchasers, healthcare providers and industry.

You can read the full article, ‘Evaluating diagnostic strategies for early detection of cancer: the CanTest framework’, on the BMC Cancer website.

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