Background & aims: The comparative effectiveness of sigmoidoscopy and fecal immunochemical testing (FIT) for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening is unknown.
Methods: Individuals aged 50-74 years living in Southeast Norway were randomly invited between 2012 and 2019 to either once-only flexible sigmoidoscopy or FIT screening every second year. Colonoscopy was recommended after sigmoidoscopy if any polyp of ≥10 mm, ≥3 adenomas, any advanced adenomas, or CRC was found or, subsequent to, FIT >15 μg hemoglobin/g feces. Data for this report were obtained after complete recruitment in both groups and included 2 full FIT rounds and part of the third round. Outcome measures were participation, neoplasia detection, and adverse events. Age-standardized detection rates and age-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) were calculated.
Results: We included 139,291 individuals: 69,195 randomized to sigmoidoscopy and 70,096 to FIT. The participation rate was 52% for sigmoidoscopy, 58% in the first FIT round, and 68% for 3 cumulative FIT rounds. Compared to sigmoidoscopy, the detection rate for CRC was similar in the first FIT round (0.25% vs 0.27%; OR, 0.92; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.75-1.13) but higher after 3 FIT rounds (0.49% vs 0.27%; OR, 1.87; 95% CI, 1.54-2.27). Advanced adenoma detection rate was lower in the first FIT round compared to sigmoidoscopy at 1.4% vs 2.4% (OR, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.53-0.62) but higher after 3 cumulative FIT rounds at 2.7% vs 2.4% (OR, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.05-1.23). There were 33 (0.05%) serious adverse events in the sigmoidoscopy group compared to 47 (0.07%) in the FIT group (P = .13).
Conclusions: Participation was higher and more CRC and advanced adenomas were detected with repeated FIT compared to sigmoidoscopy. The risk of perforation and bleeding was comparable. Clinicaltrials.gov, Number: NCT01538550.
Keywords: Adverse Events; Mass Screening; Participation; Screening Yield.
Copyright © 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.