What can we conclude from the randomized controlled trials of fecal occult blood test screening?

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1998 Mar;10(3):199-204. doi: 10.1097/00042737-199803000-00002.


The results of three published randomized controlled trials of fecal occult blood testing (FOBT) provide unequivocal proof of the principle that screening reduces mortality from colorectal cancer (CRC). However, several interesting questions remain in interpreting and applying the results of the clinical trials, including: how well does FOBT screening work (i.e. how much can CRC mortality be reduced), how does it work, when is it worthwhile and worthwhile doing, and how can technique be optimized? The answers to these questions have important practical and clinical implications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Occult Blood*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk
  • Survival Rate