The FAST (Faecal Haemoglobin Concentration, Age and Sex Test) Score: development and external validation of a simple prediction tool for colorectal cancer detection in symptomatic patients

on behalf of the COLONPREDICT study investigators

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    Prediction models for colorectal cancer (CRC) detection in symptomatic patients, based on easily obtainable variables such as faecal haemoglobin concentration (f-Hb), age and sex, may simplify CRC diagnosis. We developed, and then externally validated, a multivariable prediction model, the FAST Score, with data from five diagnostic test accuracy studies that evaluated quantitative faecal immunochemical tests in symptomatic patients referred for colonoscopy. The diagnostic accuracy of the Score in derivation and validation cohorts was compared statistically with the area under the curve (AUC) and the Chi-square test.1,572 and 3,976 patients were examined in these cohorts, respectively. For CRC, the odds ratio (OR) of the variables included in the Score were: age (years): 1.03 (95% confidence intervals (CI): 1.02-1.05), male sex: 1.6 (95% CI: 1.1-2.3) and f-Hb (0-<20 µg Hb/g faeces): 2.0 (95% CI: 0.7-5.5), (20-<200 µg Hb/g): 16.8 (95% CI: 6.6-42.0), ≥200 µg Hb/g: 65.7 (95% CI: 26.3-164.1). The AUC for CRC detection was 0.88 (95% CI: 0.85-0.90) in the derivation and 0.91 (95% CI: 0.90-093; p = 0.005) in the validation cohort. At the two Score thresholds with 90% (4.50) and 99% (2.12) sensitivity for CRC, the Score had equivalent sensitivity, although the specificity was higher in the validation cohort (p<0.001). Accordingly, the validation cohort was divided into three groups: high (21.4% of the cohort, positive predictive value - PPV: 21.7%), intermediate (59.8%, PPV: 0.9%) and low (18.8%, PPV: 0.0%) risk for CRC. The FAST Score is an easy to calculate prediction tool, highly accurate for CRC detection in symptomatic patients.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2201-2211
    Number of pages11
    JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
    Issue number10
    Early online date10 Feb 2017
    Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2017



    • Advanced colorectal neoplasia
    • Colonoscopy
    • Colorectal cancer
    • Diagnostic accuracy
    • Faecal immunochemical test
    • Inflammatory bowel disease
    • Risk stratification

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