CA125 blood test for Ovarian Cancer: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

1. Has the inclusion of the CA125 blood test as a regular check for women been considered?

2. If so, what was the outcome of this consideration/research and the reasons the CA125 blood test is currently not included as a regular check for women along with smear tests and mammograms?


The Scottish Government, along with the other nations of the United Kingdom, relies on advice about screening programmes from the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC), an independent expert advisory group. It would not consider introducing a national screening programme of this kind without a recommendation to do so from the UK NSC.

The UK NSC considered whether to recommend population screening for ovarian cancer in July 2017. They reviewed the evidence available regarding ovarian screening, which included studies examining the use of a CA125 blood test either as a stand alone test or in combination with other testing methods.

They also reviewed the available evidence from that time from a clinical trial referred to as the UKCTOCS trial. In this trial, researchers tested the CA125 blood test and the transvaginal ultrasound scan in order to gather evidence to show if either were good enough to use as a screening test.

Based on the available evidence in 2017, from this trial and from the relevant studies they reviewed, they recommended that there should not be a national screening programme for ovarian cancer. However, they committed to review the longer term results from the UKTOCS trial when they were published. Further information regarding the UK NSC decision can be found here:

The results for the UKTOCS trial have now been published, with a useful summary of their findings published on Cancer Research UK’s website. This summary provides more details about the trial, and why the researchers, based on the evidence from the trial, did not recommend screening using the CA125 blood test or transvaginal ultrasound: A trial looking at screening the general population for ovarian cancer (UKCTOCS) | Cancer Research UK

However, the UK NSC will review their recommendation regarding ovarian screening again, and will take account of any new evidence available to them at that time. Should they recommend ovarian screening, then the organisations that oversee screening in Scotland will advise Scottish Ministers on how to take that recommendation forward.

Should you wish to contact the UK NSC for any further information regarding the decision to not recommend ovarian screening, please contact them on

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