Fecal immunochemical tests (FIT) are among the most commonly used tests for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening programs worldwide. However, no randomised controlled trials have been carried out evaluating the impact of FIT-based screening programs (FIT-progr) on CRC incidence and mortality rates. Italian FIT-progr represent one of the most widespread and established experience worldwide. This paper reviews the evidence on the impact of FIT-progr on CRC incidence, tumor stage at diagnosis, mortality and surgery rates, deriving from Italian routine programs, i.e., outside the research setting. Unfortunately, the application of FIT-progr in Italy can be considered as an unplanned experimental model, due to the differences between Regions, both in health system management and adherence of the target population to the screening programs. The analysis of the manuscripts considered in the review, confirms that FIT-progr are effective in reducing CRC incidence and mortality rates and in improving the rate of endoscopic treatment of early invasive lesions. The review also highlights that FIT-progr are less performing for proximal colon than for distal colon and rectum.
Keywords: Cancer screening; Colorectal cancer; Colorectal cancer incidence; Colorectal cancer mortality; Fecal immunochemical test; Surgery rate.
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