FIT testing: an overview

Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2013 Nov;15(11):357. doi: 10.1007/s11894-013-0357-x.


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a common, but preventable, disease and is the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. CRC screening has proven effective at reducing both the incidence and mortality of this disease, using any of a number of screening tests available. The test options range from the least invasive and least expensive to more invasive and costly options. Fecal occult blood testing is the oldest, least expensive, and least invasive of these options and has evolved from the poorly sensitive standard guaiac test to the newer and diagnostically superior fecal immunochemical test (FIT) for hemoglobin. This article explores the evolutionary history of fecal occult blood testing, examines test performance characteristics among different FOBTs, and evaluates the role of the FIT in programmatic CRC screening.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Colonoscopy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods*
  • Guaiac
  • Hemoglobin Subunits / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Occult Blood*


  • Biomarkers
  • Hemoglobin Subunits
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Guaiac