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Clinical utility of one versus two faecal immunochemical test samples in the detection of advanced colorectal neoplasia in symptomatic patients.

BACKGROUND: The utility of faecal immunochemical tests (FIT) in assessment of symptomatic patients with lower gastrointestinal symptoms has not been well explored. The aims of this study were to evaluate the diagnostic yield for advanced colorectal neoplasia (ACRN) in symptomatic patients using the first of two FIT samples (FIT/1) and the higher concentration of two FIT samples (FIT/max).

METHODS: Samples from two consecutive bowel motions from 208 symptomatic patients who required colonoscopy were analysed using the HM-JACKarc analyser (Kyowa Medex Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan). Patients were categorised into two groups: patients with any ACRN and individuals with other diagnoses or normal colonoscopy.

RESULTS: Colonoscopy detected ACRN in 29 patients. In these patients, FIT/1 and FIT/max were significantly higher than in patients with low-risk adenoma (p=0.006 and p=0.024), other findings (p=0.002 and p=0.002) and normal colonoscopy (p<0.001 and p<0.001). The areas under the curves (AUC) of FIT/1 and FIT/max were 0.71 and 0.69, respectively. Undetectable FIT/1 rules out 96.6% of ACRN and the specificity was 10.6%. Increasing the FIT/1 cut-off to 10 μg Hb/g faeces, sensitivity and specificity were 34.5% and 87.2%, respectively. Similar results were obtained using FIT/max with 20 μg Hb/g faeces cut-off, providing a sensitivity and specificity of 34.5% and 85.6%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: Undetectable FIT is a good strategy to rule-out ACRN in symptomatic patients. The diagnostic yield of collecting two samples for FIT can be achieved with one sample, but a lower faecal haemoglobin concentrations (f-Hb) cut-off is required.

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