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Br J Cancer. 1992 Jun;65(6):942-4.

Guaiac and immunochemical tests for faecal occult blood in colorectal cancer screening.

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Centro per lo Studio e la Prevenzione Oncologica, Florence, Italy.


Seven hundred and eighty-six subjects spontaneously referring to our Center performed two guaiac (Rehydrated Hemoccult II (R.HO), and Hemoccult Sensa (HO S.)), and two immunochemical (OC Hemodia (Hdia) and Hemeselect (Hsel)) faecal occult blood tests on three consecutive faecal determinations. The positivity rates of 3 day R.HO, HO S., Hdia, and Hsel were 4.8%, 5.6%, 8.4% and 11.2% respectively. One hundred and thirty-five of the 150 subjects with at least one positive test completed the diagnostic work-up. Cancer was detected in three subjects and adenomas in 15. Three-day specificity estimates of R.HO, HO S., Hdia and Hsel in the overall series were 96.1%, 96.0%, 93.8% and 91.2% respectively, the differences between guaiac and immunochemical tests being significant. Corresponding values of specificity as determined on the first faecal sample only in the overall series were 98.1%, 98.3%, 96.1% and 94.9% respectively. No significant difference in specificity is evident when 3-day guaiac tests are compared to 1-day immunochemical ones. Three-day immunochemical testing is not recommended for screening purposes due to its very low specificity. Nevertheless, 1-day immunochemical testing is almost as specific as 3-day guaiac testing. A preliminary estimate of colonic neoplasms detection rates shows no difference as well. The benefit of 1-day testing on screening acceptability is evident, but the impact on sensitivity should be evaluated in a screening situation with a proper study design and a larger sample size.

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