Background: Short-term studies have reported that the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) is less accurate in detecting proximal than distal colorectal neoplasia. Objective: To assess the long-term detection rates for advanced adenoma and colorectal cancer (CRC), according to anatomical location. Design: Retrospective study. Setting: Population-based, organized screening program in the Veneto region of Italy. Participants: Persons aged 50 to 69 years who completed 6 rounds of FIT screening. Measurements: At each screening round, the detection rates for advanced adenoma and cancer, as well as the proportional interval cancer rate (PICR), were calculated by anatomical location (proximal colon, distal colon, or rectum). Results: Between 2002 and 2014, a total of 123 347 participants had 441 647 FITs. The numbers of advanced adenomas and cancer cases detected, respectively, were 1704 and 200 in the proximal colon, 3703 and 324 in the distal colon, and 1220 and 209 in the rectum. Although the detection rate for proximal colon cancer declined only from the first to the second screening round (0.63 to 0.36 per 1000 screenees), the rate for both distal colon and rectal cancer steadily decreased across 6 rounds (distal colon, 1.65 in the first round to 0.17 in the sixth; rectum, 0.82 in the first round to 0.17 in the sixth). Similar trends were found for advanced adenoma (proximal colon, 5.32 in the first round to 4.22 in the sixth; distal colon, 15.2 in the first round to 5.02 in the sixth). Overall, 150 cases of interval cancer were diagnosed. The PICR was higher in the proximal colon (25.2% [95% CI, 19.9% to 31.5%]) than the distal colon (6.0% [CI, 3.9% to 8.9%]) or rectum (9.9% [CI, 6.9% to 13.7%]). Limitations: Participants with irregular attendance were censored. Those who had a false-positive result on a previous FIT but negative colonoscopy results were included in subsequent rounds. Conclusion: This FIT-based, multiple-round, long-term screening program had a negligible reduction in detection rates for neoplastic lesions in the proximal versus the distal colon after the first round. This was related to a higher PICR in the proximal colon and suboptimal efficacy in preventing the age-related proximal shifting of CRC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine