Arq Gastroenterol. 2018 Apr-Jun;55(2):128-132. doi: 10.1590/S0004-2803.201800000-22.


Background: Colorectal bleeding is a warning sign that may be identified by fecal occult blood testing. A positive fecal occult blood test result requires a subsequent colonoscopy, a costly and invasive examination. Therefore, the use of diagnostic tests with optimal sensitivity and specificity is warranted. In this study, we evaluated four different fecal occult blood tests in 176 patients undergoing colonoscopy and compared their results.

Objective: To assess the sensitivity, specificity and predictive values of chemical and immunochemical fecal occult blood tests in patients undergoing colonoscopy and to evaluate the degree of concordance between the tests and colonoscopy.

Methods: Patients with indications for colonoscopy also underwent fecal occult blood testing by chemical (toluidine test) and immunochemical methods, employing three commercially available kits. Based on the endoscopic findings, the colonoscopy was rated as positive or negative for colorectal bleeding. The degree of concordance between the fecal occult blood tests and the colonoscopy was evaluated by the kappa index.

Results: Forty-four (25%) colonoscopies were categorized as positive for colorectal bleeding. The toluidine test presented lower concordance than the immunochemical tests, which showed moderate concordance with the colonoscopy. The toluidine test had the least sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values.

Conclusion: The immunochemical fecal occult blood tests showed greater sensitivity, specificity and predictive values in detecting colorectal bleeding. The immunochemical tests had superior indexes of agreement with colonoscopy compared to the toluidine test.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Colonoscopy / standards*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Feces / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Occult Blood*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Toluidines / analysis*
  • Young Adult


  • Toluidines