Randomised trials have shown screening using guaiac-based faecal occult blood tests (gFOBt) to be effective in reducing mortality from bowel cancer.
The NHS bowel cancer screening programme (NHSBCSP) in England currently uses gFOBt, and invites men and women age 60-69 every two years; the age-range is currently being extended to 60-74. The alternative immunochemical faecal occult blood test (iFOBt) has the potential advantages of being easier to carry out, and of being specific for human blood. It also has the advantage of being semi-quantitative, allowing the use of different cut-off points
The NHSBCSP is carrying out a pilot study of iFOBt, due to start in 2014, to study the logistics, acceptability and diagnostic performance. The evaluation of this pilot will study various outcome measures including test uptake, positive rate, uptake of colonoscopy in iFOBt+ positive patients and detection rates and positive predictive value (PPV) for cancer and adenoma. The effect on screening outcomes of using a range of cut-off points at and above that used in the pilot will be studied.
Professor Sue Moss
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7882 5841