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A Comparison of Fecal Occult-Blood Tests for Colorectal-Cancer Screening

A Comparison of Fecal Occult-Blood Tests for Colorectal-Cancer Screening BackgroundHemoccult II, a widely used guaiac test for fecal occult blood, has a low sensitivity for detecting colorectal neoplasms in asymptomatic patients at average risk. In such patients, the performance characteristics of screening tests developed to improve on Hemoccult II are not known.MethodsA set of three fecal occult-blood tests — Hemoccult II; Hemoccult II Sensa, a more sensitive guaiac test; and HemeSelect, an immunochemical test for human hemoglobin — was mailed to all patients 50 years of age or older who were scheduled for personal health appraisals at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Oakland, California. The performance of each test and of a combination test (HemeSelect to confirm positive Hemoccult II Sensa results) was evaluated by identifying screened patients who had colorectal neoplasms (carcinoma or a polyp >1 cm in diameter) in the two years after screening.ResultsOf the 10,702 eligible patients, 8104 (75.7 percent) had at least one interpretable sample and were screened on the basis of at least one test; 96 percent of these patients had complete two-year follow-up. The sensitivity of the tests for detecting carcinoma was lowest with Hemoccult II (37.1 percent; 95 percent confidence interval, 19.7 to 54.6 percent), intermediate with the combination test (65.6 percent; 95 percent confidence interval, 47.6 to 83.6 percent) and with HemeSelect (68.8 percent; 95 percent confidence interval, 51.1 to 86.4 percent), and highest with Hemoccult II Sensa (79.4 percent; 95 percent confidence interval, 64.3 to 94.5 percent). The specificity for detecting carcinoma was 86.7 percent with Hemoccult II Sensa, 94.4 percent with HemeSelect, 97.3 percent with the combination test, and 97.7 percent with Hemoccult II. HemeSelect and the combination test detected more colorectal carcinomas and polyps than Hemoccult II, with only slight increases in the number of colonoscopies needed.ConclusionsHemeSelect and a combination test in which HemeSelect is used to confirm positive Hemoccult II Sensa results improve on Hemoccult II in screening patients for colorectal carcinoma. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The New England Journal of Medicine The New England Journal of Medicine

A Comparison of Fecal Occult-Blood Tests for Colorectal-Cancer Screening

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References (14)

Publisher
The New England Journal of Medicine
Copyright
Copyright © 1996 Massachusetts Medical Society. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0028-4793
eISSN
1533-4406
DOI
10.1056/NEJM199601183340304
pmid
8531970
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

BackgroundHemoccult II, a widely used guaiac test for fecal occult blood, has a low sensitivity for detecting colorectal neoplasms in asymptomatic patients at average risk. In such patients, the performance characteristics of screening tests developed to improve on Hemoccult II are not known.MethodsA set of three fecal occult-blood tests — Hemoccult II; Hemoccult II Sensa, a more sensitive guaiac test; and HemeSelect, an immunochemical test for human hemoglobin — was mailed to all patients 50 years of age or older who were scheduled for personal health appraisals at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Oakland, California. The performance of each test and of a combination test (HemeSelect to confirm positive Hemoccult II Sensa results) was evaluated by identifying screened patients who had colorectal neoplasms (carcinoma or a polyp >1 cm in diameter) in the two years after screening.ResultsOf the 10,702 eligible patients, 8104 (75.7 percent) had at least one interpretable sample and were screened on the basis of at least one test; 96 percent of these patients had complete two-year follow-up. The sensitivity of the tests for detecting carcinoma was lowest with Hemoccult II (37.1 percent; 95 percent confidence interval, 19.7 to 54.6 percent), intermediate with the combination test (65.6 percent; 95 percent confidence interval, 47.6 to 83.6 percent) and with HemeSelect (68.8 percent; 95 percent confidence interval, 51.1 to 86.4 percent), and highest with Hemoccult II Sensa (79.4 percent; 95 percent confidence interval, 64.3 to 94.5 percent). The specificity for detecting carcinoma was 86.7 percent with Hemoccult II Sensa, 94.4 percent with HemeSelect, 97.3 percent with the combination test, and 97.7 percent with Hemoccult II. HemeSelect and the combination test detected more colorectal carcinomas and polyps than Hemoccult II, with only slight increases in the number of colonoscopies needed.ConclusionsHemeSelect and a combination test in which HemeSelect is used to confirm positive Hemoccult II Sensa results improve on Hemoccult II in screening patients for colorectal carcinoma.

Journal

The New England Journal of MedicineThe New England Journal of Medicine

Published: Jan 18, 1996

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