Frequently Asked Questions
The SUMMIT Study is a large-scale study involving 25,000 people aged 55-77 living in London and surrounding areas. People who currently smoke or have smoked regularly in the past will be invited to participate in the study.
The SUMMIT Study aims to improve early detection of cancer in two ways. The study will support the development and evaluation of a new blood test for detecting multiple types of cancer early. The study will also examine the feasibility of a large-scale lung screening programme in England.
People who are eligible to take part will be contacted by their General Practitioner (GP) via letter.
If you do not want to be invited, there are two different ways to let us know. The way to do this depends on if you have already received an invitation letter:
- I have already received an invitation letter. If you would like the UCLH staff to delete your contact details, please contact the SUMMIT Study team on firstname.lastname@example.org and explain that you would like to opt out. This will not affect your medical or legal rights, now or in the future.
- I have not yet received an invitation letter. If you do not want your GP practice to pass on your contact details to UCLH staff, please contact your GP practice directly. Please note that this is only relevant if your GP practice is in London and surrounding areas, AND they are taking part in the SUMMIT Study.
To be eligible, individuals must:
- Be between the ages of 55 and 77 years old at the time of their appointment.
- Be registered at a participating GP practice in London and surrounding areas.
- Not be currently diagnosed with cancer.
- Smoke currently or have smoked regularly in the past and meet certain requirements.
People who currently smoke or have smoked regularly in the past will be invited, via their GP, to book an appointment for a Lung Health Check. The appointment will be at a convenient time of the person’s choosing.
At the Lung Health Check, a healthcare professional will ask questions to assess the person’s lung and general health, and family history. The healthcare professional will take basic measurements including height, weight and blood pressure. The healthcare professional will also carry out a spirometry test to check the person’s lung capacity by blowing into a hand-held machine.
Persons who currently smoke will also have an opportunity, if they are interested, to discuss available smoking cessation support services with the healthcare professional.
Those who are eligible will be given information about the SUMMIT Study. If interested, they will be offered the opportunity to take part. This study will include having a Low Dose Computed Tomography (LDCT) scan (see additional FAQs for details about LDCT scans) of the chest to check for the early signs of lung cancer and giving a blood sample. The blood sample will be used to help in developing and evaluating a blood test for early cancer detection. Since the blood test is still in development, no blood test results will be given to participants or their GPs as part of this study.
For those who choose to take part in the study, the following activities will be completed on the day of the Lung Health Check or at a later time if additional time is needed:
- Read and sign an informed consent document
- Fill out a confidential health questionnaire
- Have a blood sample taken
- Receive a LDCT scan of their chest
At the completion of their appointment, SUMMIT Study participants will receive a £20 shopping voucher to compensate for their time and effort. Participants also will receive detailed information about next steps. Participants and their GPs will receive a letter with the results of the Lung Health Check and LDCT scan within about three weeks of the appointment. The LDCT scan results will help doctors decide if further tests are needed and to schedule follow-up visits.
Participants will be asked to come back for follow-up appointments once a year for the following two years. At these appointments, they will have a lung health check, blood sample taken, and complete a confidential health questionnaire. Some participants will have further LDCT scans. Participants with an abnormal finding may be asked to come back three months after their LDCT scan for an additional scan. For each annual follow-up visit, participants will receive a £20 shopping voucher to compensate for their time and effort.
The study is sponsored and run by University College London (UCL). University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) will be delivering the clinical and organisational aspects of the study on behalf of University College London.
GRAIL, Inc., a healthcare company in the United States, is funding the SUMMIT Study, and is developing the blood test for early detection of multiple cancers by using blood samples from research volunteers, including participants in the SUMMIT Study. GRAIL is working closely with UCL and UCLH to develop new and effective ways of finding cancer early.
GRAIL is developing blood tests for early cancer detection using cutting-edge technology. These tests look for small pieces of genomic material, such as DNA and RNA, in a blood sample. These pieces of genomic information, called cell-free nucleic acids (cfNAs), may be shed from cancers and thus may indicate the presence of cancer in a person. Before such a test can be used by doctors to screen people for cancer and direct their medical care, it must be evaluated and validated through clinical research, such as the SUMMIT Study, and then be approved by relevant health authorities.
At all times, we will handle your data confidentially, and in accordance with applicable UK legal data protection requirements.
If you join the study, you will be given a unique study number. This study number will be used instead of your name and will be linked to all of your study data. This is called pseudonymised data. Only certain authorised people at UCL and UCLH will have access to data from which you can be identified (for example, your name, address and date of birth). All other organisations involved in the SUMMIT Study other than UCL and UCLH will have access only to pseudonymised data, from which you cannot be personally identified.
At this time the SUMMIT Study will only enrol people in the UK.
An LDCT scan takes about 10 minutes and is a type of x-ray, which takes detailed pictures of the lungs. These pictures are processed by a computer and then checked for the early signs of lung cancer and other abnormalities by specially trained doctors (known as radiologists).
The risks and benefits of LDCT scans will be explained to people before they decide whether to take part in the study.
The LDCT scans use a much lower dose of radiation than a conventional CT scan. One scan is equivalent to around four months of background radiation that people normally receive from the natural environment. We anticipate that most participants will receive three scans on average over the course of the study. These participants will receive the equivalent of approximately one year of normal background radiation from these scans. The health risk from this amount of extra radiation is very small when compared with the risk of developing lung cancer due to smoking. The risks and benefits of LDCT scans will be explained to people before they decide whether to take part in the study.