Background: The role of a faecal immunochemical test (FIT) in screening individuals with a positive family history of colorectal cancer (CRC) is not clear.
Aim: To assess the diagnostic accuracy of FIT using colonoscopy findings as the gold standard in identifying colorectal neoplasms.
Methods: We analysed data from 4539 asymptomatic subjects aged 50-70 years who had both colonoscopy and FIT (Hemosure; W.H.P.M., Inc, El Monte, CA, USA) at our bowel cancer screening centre between 2008 and 2012. A total of 572 subjects (12.6%) had a family history of CRC. Our primary outcome was the sensitivity of FIT in detecting advanced neoplasms and cancers in subjects with a family history of CRC. A family history of CRC was defined as any first-degree relative with a history of CRC.
Results: Among 572 subjects with a family history of CRC, adenoma, advanced neoplasm and cancer were found at screening colonoscopy in 29.4%, 6.5% and 0.7% individuals, respectively. The sensitivity of FIT in detecting adenoma, advanced neoplasm and cancer was 9.5% [95% confidence interval (CI), 5.7-15.3], 35.1% (95% CI, 20.7-52.6) and 25.0% (95% CI, 1.3-78.1), respectively. Among FIT-negative subjects who have a family history of CRC, adenoma was found in 152 (29.6%), advanced neoplasm in 24 (4.7%) and cancer in 3 (0.6%) individuals.
Conclusion: Compared with colonoscopy, FIT is more likely to miss advanced neoplasms or cancers in individuals with a family history of CRC.
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.