Longitudinal Adherence to Immunochemical Fecal Occult Blood Testing vs Guaiac-based FOBT in an Organized Colorectal Cancer Screening Program

Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2019 May;12(5):327-334. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-18-0091. Epub 2019 Mar 19.


Longitudinal adherence is a critical component of the efficacy of stool-based screening programs because they should be repeated every 1-2 years. Few data have been published on the uptake in multiple rounds of fecal occult blood test-based (FOBT) colorectal cancer (CRC) screening. We calculated two measures of longitudinal adherence to biennial FOBT (guaiac fecal occult blood test:gFOBT or fecal immunochemical test:FIT) to better understand its impact on the programmatic effectiveness of a population-based CRC screening program (2000-2017). Ongoing population-based CRC program of men and women aged 50-69 years. Variables: Age at first CRC screening invitation, sex, number of screening invitations, number of screens, deprivation score, and uptake rate. Logistic regression models were used to assess the independent effect of sex, age at first invitation, deprivation, and the type of screening test offered on adherence. The uptake rate for guaiac fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) was 23.9%, and for the fecal immunochemical test (FIT), it was 37.4%. The overall rate of consistently screened invitees after seven rounds of screening was 14.2%, being 20.6% for those individuals who used FIT and 14.3% for those who used gFOBT. Factors associated with continued participation (consistent vs. inconsistent screenees) showed that the longitudinal adherence was associated with age, screening test used, and number of invitations. Continued participation was lower in individuals who were screened using FIT than among those screened using gFOBT [OR, 0.68; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.57-0.81]. The overall rate of consistently screened invitees for colorectal cancer screening was higher with FIT than gFOBT. Studying the rate of individuals being current for screening may help to anticipate potential benefits before the long-term outcome data are available.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods
  • Early Detection of Cancer / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Guaiac / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Immunochemistry / statistics & numerical data
  • Indicators and Reagents / chemistry
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Mass Screening / organization & administration
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Occult Blood
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data*
  • Program Evaluation


  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Guaiac