One or two faecal immunochemical tests in an organised population-based colorectal cancer screening programme in Murcia (Spain)

Carlos Tourne-Garcia, Francisco Perez-Riquelme, Olga Monteagudo-Piqueras, Callum G. Fraser, Pedro Yepes-Garcia (Lead / Corresponding author)

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Objective: Roll-out of population-based colorectal cancer (CRC) screening with faecal immunochemical test (FIT) is limited by availability of further investigations, particularly colonoscopy and examination of excised lesions. Our objective was to assess whether variation in number of faecal samples and threshold adjustment can optimise resource utilisation and CRC detection rate.

Methods: Three different screening strategies were compared for the same FIT threshold using a quantitative FIT system: one FIT, positive when >20 µg Hb/g faeces; two FIT, positive when either was >20 µg Hb/g faeces; and two FIT, positive when the mean was >20 µg Hb/g faeces. We calculated changes in the size of population the provider could invite to screening for an equal number of screening positive results, and CRC and adenoma detected.

Results: In our setting, Region of Murcia, south of Spain (not fully rolled out screening programme), changing the usual strategy of two FIT, positive when either to positive when the mean was >20 µg Hb/g faeces, would increase population invited by 37.81% with the same number of positive results (which would generate a CRC detection rate of 19.2%). In a fully rolled out programme, changing the strategy from one to two FIT (positive when the mean is >20 µg Hb/g faeces), would increase CRC detection rate by 4.64% with an increase of only 13.34% in positive FIT.

Conclusions: In a population-based CRC screening programme, smart use of number of FITs and positivity threshold can increase population invited and CRC detection without increasing the number of colonoscopies and pathological examinations needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-240
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Medical Screening
Issue number4
Early online date16 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Colorectal cancer
  • colorectal neoplasia
  • faecal haemoglobin
  • faecal immunochemical test
  • screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health Policy


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