Objective: Faecal immunochemical tests (FIT) are replacing guaiac faecal occult blood tests (FOBT) in colorectal cancer (CRC) screening. Data from the first year of FIT screening were compared with those from FOBT screening and assumptions based on a pilot evaluation of FIT.
Design: Data on uptake, positivity, positive predictive value (PPV) for CRC and higher-risk adenoma from participants in the first year of the FIT-based Scottish Bowel Screening Programme (n=919 665), with a threshold of 80 μg Hb/g faeces, were compared with those from the penultimate year of the FOBT-based programme (n=862 165) and those from the FIT evaluation (n=66 225).
Results: Overall, uptake of FIT was 63.9% compared with 56.4% for FOBT. Positivity was 3.1% and 2.2% with FIT and FOBT; increases were seen in both sexes, and across age range and deprivation. More CRC and adenomas were detected by FIT, but the PPV for CRC was less (5.2% with FIT and 6.4% with FOBT). However, for higher-risk adenoma, PPV was greater with FIT (24.3% with FIT and 19.3% with FOBT). In the previous FIT evaluation, uptake was 58.5% with FIT compared with 54.0% with FOBT; positivity was 2.5% with FIT and 2.0% with FOBT.
Conclusion: Transition to FIT from FOBT produced higher uptake and positivity with lower PPV for CRC and higher PPV for adenoma. The FIT pilot evaluation underestimated uptake and positivity. Introducing FIT at the same threshold as the evaluation caused a 67.2% increase in colonoscopy demand instead of a predicted 10%.
- colorectal cancer screening
- faecal immunochemical test
- faecal haemoglobin
- faecal occult blood test
- Colorectal cancer