Comparison of a brush-sampling fecal immunochemical test for hemoglobin with a sensitive guaiac-based fecal occult blood test in detection of colorectal neoplasia

Cancer. 2006 Nov 1;107(9):2152-9. doi: 10.1002/cncr.22230.


Background: Fecal immunochemical tests (FIT) are an advanced fecal occult blood test (FOBT) technology that reduces barriers to population screening by simplifying the logistics of stool-sampling. The current study was conducted to undertake a paired comparison of a sensitive guaiac FOBT (GFOBT; Hemoccult II Sensa, Beckman Coulter, Fullerton, CA) with a brush-sampling FIT (InSure; Enterix, North Ryde, NSW, Australia), to determine whether this FIT improves detection of significant neoplasia.

Methods: Individuals sampled consecutive stools, at home, with both FIT and GFOBT sampling devices while following dietary restrictions appropriate for GFOBT. Study populations included a screening cohort (n = 2351) and a symptomatic diagnostic group (n = 161). Paired comparison of positivity rates was undertaken in those found to have cancer and/or significant adenoma (high-grade dysplasia, villous change, > or =10 mm, serrated histology or > or =3 polyps), benign pathology, or no pathology.

Results: Combined results for both cohorts showed that the FIT returned a true-positive result significantly more often in cancer (n = 24; 87.5% vs. 54.2%) and in significant adenomas (n = 61; 42.6% vs. 23.0%). Of all UICC Stage I cancers, the FIT was positive in 12 of 13 compared with 4 of 13 with the GFOBT (P = .002). In analyses of just the screening cohort, the FIT remained significantly better at detecting cancers and significant adenomas; the false-positive rate for any neoplasia was marginally higher with the FIT than the GFOBT (3.4% vs. 2.5%; 95% CI of difference, 0-1.8%), whereas positive predictive values were 41.9% and 40.4%, respectively.

Conclusions: This brush-sampling FIT is more sensitive for cancers and significant adenomas than a sensitive GFOBT. As such, it should deliver greater reductions in colorectal cancer mortality and incidence than the GFOBT.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / diagnosis*
  • Adenoma / epidemiology
  • Aged
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Feces / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Guaiac*
  • Hemoglobins / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Immunochemistry
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Occult Blood*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Hemoglobins
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Guaiac