Serious concerns about the low number of malignancies diagnosed under the initiative have been expressed in the November issue of International Journal of Clinical Practice by a hospital research team and a leading cancer Professor.
The target, which was introduced in 2000, says that any patients with suspected cancer should be seen by a hospital specialist within two weeks of being referred to their GP.
"It's not surprising that the two-week wait hasn't had an impact on survival because the delay between the referral from primary care and the first specialist appointment is only a small part of the cancer pathway" says lead author Mr Stephen Hanna, who carried out his research with colleagues at Northampton General Hospital.
"The only effective way to diagnose and treat cancer earlier is to target all stages of the process, including patient education, screening, investigations and treatment."
Mr Hanna and his colleagues have urged the Government to rethink their cancer target after they reviewed the results of 35 UK cancer studies carried out since the introduction of the target.
"Although some authors have reported improvements in waiting times for both the first appointment, and in some cases treatment, many studies have raised the common concern that the majority of malignancies are being detected outside the new system" adds Mr Hanna, now a specialist registrar at Leeds General Infirmary.
"Increased waiting times for other appointments have also been noted and this has raised fears that the target may actually be leading to a delay in diagnosing cancers in many patients."
However, the authors do acknowledge that being seen promptly has an important psychological effect on worried patients.