Multitarget stool DNA for colorectal cancer screening: A review and commentary on the United States Preventive Services Draft Guidelines

World J Gastrointest Oncol. 2016 May 15;8(5):450-8. doi: 10.4251/wjgo.v8.i5.450.


Multitarget stool DNA (mt-sDNA) testing was approved for average risk colorectal cancer (CRC) screening by the United States Food and Drug Administration and thereafter reimbursed for use by the Medicare program (2014). The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) October 2015 draft recommendation for CRC screening included mt-sDNA as an "alternative" screening test that "may be useful in select clinical circumstances", despite its very high sensitivity for early stage CRC. The evidence supporting mt-sDNA for routine screening use is robust. The clinical efficacy of mt-sDNA as measured by sensitivity, specificity, life-years gained (LYG), and CRC deaths averted is similar to or exceeds that of the other more specifically recommended screening options included in the draft document, especially those requiring annual testing adherence. In a population with primarily irregular screening participation, tests with the highest point sensitivity and reasonable specificity are more likely to favorably impact CRC related morbidity and mortality than those depending on annual adherence. This paper reviews the evidence supporting mt-sDNA for routine screening and demonstrates, using USPSTF's modeling data, that mt-sDNA at three-year intervals provides significant clinical net benefits and fewer complications per LYG than annual fecal immunochemical testing, high sensitivity guaiac based fecal occult blood testing and 10-year colonoscopy screening.

Keywords: Cancer Intervention Surveillance Modeling Network; Colorectal cancer screening; Fecal immunological technique; Interval; Modeling; Multitarget stool DNA; Stool DNA; The United States Preventive Services Task Force.

Publication types

  • Review