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World J Gastrointest Oncol. 2016 Nov 15;8(11):793-800.

Current noninvasive tests for colorectal cancer screening: An overview of colorectal cancer screening tests.

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Le-Le Song, Yue-Min Li, Department of Radiotherapy, the Chinese PLA 309 Hospital, Beijing 100091, China.


Colorectal cancer (CRC) has become the third most common cancer in the world. Screening has been shown to be an effective way to identify early CRC and precancerous lesions, and to reduce its morbidity and mortality. Several types of noninvasive tests have been developed for CRC screening, including the fecal occult blood test (FOBT), the fecal immunochemical test (FIT), the fecal-based DNA test and the blood-based DNA test (the SEPT9 assay). FIT has replaced FOBT and become the major screening test due to high sensitivity, specificity and low costs. The fecal DNA test exhibited higher sensitivity than FIT but its current cost is high for a screening assay. The SEPT9 assay showed good compliance while its performance in screening needs further improvements. These tests exhibited distinct sensitivity and specificity in screening for CRC and adenoma. This article will focus on the performance of the current noninvasive in vitro diagnostic tests that have been used for CRC screening. The merits and drawbacks for these screening methods will also be compared regarding the techniques, usage and costs. We hope this review can provide suggestions for both the public and clinicians in choosing the appropriate method for CRC screening.


Adenoma; Colorectal cancer; Fecal DNA; Fecal immunochemical test; SEPT9; Septin 9

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict-of-interest statement: There is no conflict of interest associated with any of the senior author or other coauthors contributed their efforts in this manuscript.

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