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Immunochemical Fecal Testing Speeds Cancer Detection

Interval testing may identify colorectal neoplasia 25 months earlier than colonoscopy alone

THURSDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Patients at high risk for colorectal cancer who undergo yearly fecal immunochemical tests (FITs) along with scheduled colonoscopies are likely to have neoplasia detected a median of 25 months earlier than colonoscopy alone, according to a study published in the December issue of Gastroenterology.

Joanne M. Lane, M.P.H., of Flinders University of South Australia in Adelaide, and colleagues investigated whether those at high risk for developing colorectal neoplasia would benefit from FITs administered in the interval between their regularly scheduled colonoscopies. The team studied 1,736 subjects, who had past colorectal neoplasia or had a family history of the disease, for a total of 8,863 patient years. The subjects received yearly FITs, and those with a positive result had a colonoscopy early than scheduled.

The investigators found that, of the 1,071 asymptomatic participants who received at least one FIT, the test found 12 out of 14 cancers (86 percent sensitivity) and 60 out of 96 adenomas (63 percent sensitivity). Compared to colonoscopy alone, the cancers were detected a median of 25 months earlier, while advanced adenomas were detected a median of 24 months earlier.

"Interval FIT testing in a high-risk colonoscopy surveillance program is useful as a strategy for detecting missed or rapidly developing lesions," the authors write.

The study was funded in part by Enterix Australia; one author disclosed a consulting relationship with Enterix.

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