The PinPoint Test is a brand new blood test which uses artificial intelligence to produce a calibrated probability that a patient has cancer. This test will be offered to patients who have cancer symptoms and are being referred urgently for cancer investigations. Once the test is implemented fully it will be used to support hospital clinical teams to triage their patients.
General Practitioners (GPs) in England currently refer over 2.17 million patients with symptoms a year on an urgent cancer referral pathway, or 'Two Week Wait'. However, more than nine in every 10 people (90%) referred this way will not be diagnosed with cancer. The PinPoint Test is being launched as a rapid response by the NHS to help prioritise these cancer referrals and make the diagnosis process more streamlined. The PinPoint Test will be used alongside standard testing for suspected cancer.
The PinPoint Test can be used for the nine main cancer groups, covering over 98% of all urgent cancer referrals. Currently the PinPoint Test cannot be used for some rarer cancers. However, this may change in the future. The PinPoint Test cannot be used as a general test to rule out cancer for non-symptomatic patients in the wider population.
West Yorkshire and Harrogate Cancer Alliance is working in partnership with PinPoint Data Science to embed this test across the area. It will start to be rolled out in September 2020 as a service evaluation, in partnership with Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust.
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What Is The PinPoint Test?
The PinPoint Test is a blood test which measures specific features in a patient’s blood and the results of the test, combined with basic patient information, can indicate with very high accuracy a patient’s chance of having cancer. In the future, the test results will be used by hospital doctors to help prioritise patients on urgent cancer referral pathways. This will mean that patients with the highest chance of cancer will have their hospital appointments as soon as possible. It will also enable patients with a low probability of cancer to be reassured and where necessary investigated for alternative diagnoses for their symptoms.
As part of the test, the patient will be asked by their GP to provide a blood sample during their urgent cancer referral. The amount of blood collected will not exceed 8.5 mL (less than 2 teaspoons) and obtaining the sample will take about five minutes.
Partners In The Project
- West Yorkshire & Harrogate Cancer Alliance
- PinPoint Data Science
- University of Leeds
- Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, acting as central laboratory for testing
- Six acute Trusts in West Yorkshire and Harrogate (West Yorkshire Association of Acute Trusts)
- GP Practices in West Yorkshire and Harrogate
The main benefit of the PinPoint Test, at a time when COVID19 has caused disruption to patient referrals and access to diagnostic tests, is that it will support more effective triaging of patients and help to both avoid unnecessary diagnostic tests and ensure that patients with a high risk of cancer are seen as soon as possible.
When fully implemented, the hospital clinical team will have access to the outcome of the test which will show the probability that the patient has cancer. They will use this result, alongside a patient’s symptoms, medical history and the results of any other investigative tests to assess the likelihood that a patient has cancer and the next steps for that patient. In some cases this will mean that patients are fast tracked through the system where there is a high risk of cancer. For other patients they may be reassured that they are unlikely to have cancer and returned to Primary Care. Some patients may be monitored or sent for investigation for other non cancer conditions.
Why Offer The Test Now?
This is a new test which has recently been CE marked for use in the NHS. Extensive research has already been carried out on existing patient data. The next phase is to carry out a service evaluation which will assess the effectiveness of the test in the real world. In this phase the result will not be fed back to the clinical team, but will be used to assess the effectiveness of the test. Once up to 100 patients have been diagnosed with cancer on one of the nine cancer pathways, a panel of experts, including senior clinicians, will review the evidence and approve the test for full implementation.
Once fully implemented the test will help to relieve the increasing pressure on hospitals caused by COVID 19 by enabling them to identify the patients who need to be seen most urgently.
Click here to read the guidelines for ordering the PinPoint test on ICE
PinPoint Privacy/Fair Processing Notice
The Patient Voice
Members of the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Cancer Alliance community/patient panel have been involved in the development of PinPoint Test patient information, in particular to ensure clarity and use of patient-focused language.
Click here to read the Patient Information Sheet for Phase 1
Click here for an easy read version of the Patient Information Sheet for Phase 1
Click here for a large print version of the Patient Information Sheet for Phase 1