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Faecal immunochemical test for patients with 'high-risk' bowel symptoms: a large prospective cohort study and updated literature review

Laszlo, HE; Seward, E; Ayling, RM; Lake, J; Malhi, A; Stephens, C; Pritchard-Jones, K; ... Machesney, M; + view all (2021) Faecal immunochemical test for patients with 'high-risk' bowel symptoms: a large prospective cohort study and updated literature review. British Journal of Cancer 10.1038/s41416-021-01653-x. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Background: We evaluated whether faecal immunochemical testing (FIT) can rule out colorectal cancer (CRC) among patients presenting with ‘high-risk’ symptoms requiring definitive investigation. Methods: Three thousand five hundred and ninety-six symptomatic patients referred to the standard urgent CRC pathway were recruited in a multi-centre observational study. They completed FIT in addition to standard investigations. CRC miss rate (percentage of CRC cases with low quantitative faecal haemoglobin [f-Hb] measurement) and specificity (percentage of patients without cancer with low f-Hb) were calculated. We also provided an updated literature review. Results: Ninety patients had CRC. At f-Hb < 10 µg/g, the miss rate was 16.7% (specificity 80.1%). At f-Hb < 4 µg/g, the miss rate was 12.2% (specificity 73%), which became 3.3% if low FIT plus the absence of anaemia and abdominal pain were considered (specificity 51%). Within meta-analyses of 9 UK studies, the pooled miss rate was 7.2% (specificity 74%) for f-Hb < 4 µg/g. Discussion: FIT alone as a triage tool would miss an estimated 1 in 8 cases in our study (1 in 14 from meta-analysis), while many people without CRC could avoid investigations. FIT can focus secondary care diagnostic capacity on patients most at risk of CRC, but more work on safety netting is required before incorporating FIT triage into the urgent diagnostic pathway.

Type: Article
Title: Faecal immunochemical test for patients with 'high-risk' bowel symptoms: a large prospective cohort study and updated literature review
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41416-021-01653-x
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41416-021-01653-x
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2021. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons. org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Oncology, DIAGNOSING COLORECTAL-CANCER, PRIMARY-CARE, HEMOGLOBIN CONCENTRATIONS, ACCURACY, CALPROTECTIN, DISEASE, FIT, AGE
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Cancer Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Cancer Institute > CRUK Cancer Trials Centre
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Developmental Biology and Cancer Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10140739
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