Extra Test Could Improve Colorectal Cancer Screening

Immunochemical fecal occult blood test suggested for those testing positive on guaiac test

FRIDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- An immunochemical fecal occult blood test (FOBT) can more accurately identify those with colorectal cancer if given to patients who test positive on the traditional guaiac FOBT, according to a Scottish study published Jan. 6 in The Lancet Oncology.

Callum G. Fraser, Ph.D., of Ninewells Hospital and Medical School in Dundee, Scotland, and colleagues studied 1,486 people who had a positive result on a guaiac FOBT during the second round of a pilot study and were being followed up for colonoscopy.

Out of 800 guaiac-positive participants who provided duplicate samples for the immunochemical test, 173 (22%) tested negative in both samples, 129 (16%) tested positive in one sample, and 498 (62%) tested positive in both samples, the researchers found.

Only one patient in the group with two negative tests and one in the group with one positive test actually had colorectal cancer, compared to 38 (8%) of the patients with two positive tests, the report indicates.

"Immunochemical FOBT for individuals with positive guaiac FOBT could decrease substantially the number of false positives in a screening program for colorectal cancer," the authors write.

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