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Br J Cancer. 2012 Jul 10;107(2):260-5. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2012.266. Epub 2012 Jun 14.

Identifying patients with undetected colorectal cancer: an independent validation of QCancer (Colorectal).

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Centre for Statistics in Medicine, Wolfson College Annexe, University of Oxford, Linton Road, Oxford OX2 6UD, UK.



Early identification of colorectal cancer is an unresolved challenge and the predictive value of single symptoms is limited. We evaluated the performance of QCancer (Colorectal) prediction model for predicting the absolute risk of colorectal cancer in an independent UK cohort of patients from general practice records.


A total of 2.1 million patients registered with a general practice surgery between 01 January 2000 and 30 June 2008, aged 30-84 years (3.7 million person-years) with 3712 colorectal cancer cases were included in the analysis. Colorectal cancer was defined as incident diagnosis of colorectal cancer during the 2 years after study entry.


The results from this independent and external validation of QCancer (Colorectal) prediction model demonstrated good performance data on a large cohort of general practice patients. QCancer (Colorectal) had very good discrimination with an area under the ROC curve of 0.92 (women) and 0.91 (men), and explained 68% (women) and 66% (men) of the variation. QCancer (Colorectal) was well calibrated across all tenths of risk and over all age ranges with predicted risks closely matching observed risks.


QCancer (Colorectal) appears to be a useful tool for identifying undetected cases of undiagnosed colorectal cancer in primary care in the United Kingdom.

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