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Colorectal Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Screening - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Evidence of Benefit

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The English trial allocated approximately 76,000 individuals to each arm. Those in the screened arm were offered nonrehydrated guaiac FOBT (gFOBT) testing every 2 years for three to six rounds from 1985 to 1995. At a median follow-up time of 7.8 years, 60% completed at least one test, and 38% completed all tests. Cumulative incidence of CRC was similar in both arms, and the trial reported a RR reduction of 15% in CRC mortality (odds ratio [OR], 0.85; 95% CI, 0.74–0.98).[10] The serious complication rate of colonoscopy was 0.5%. There were five deaths within 30 days of surgery for screen-detected CRC or adenoma in a total of 75,253 individuals screened.[11] After a median follow-up of 11.8 years, no difference in CRC incidence between the intervention and control groups was observed. The disease-specific mortality rate ratio associated with screening was 0.87 (0.78–0.97; P = .01). The rate ratio for death from all causes was 1.00 (0.98–1.02; P = .79).[12] When the median follow-up was extended to 19.5 years, there was a 9% reduction in CRC mortality (RR, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.84–0.98) but no reduction in CRC incidence (RR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.91–1.03), or death from all causes (RR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.99–1.02).[13]

The Danish trial in Funen, Denmark, entered approximately 31,000 individuals into two arms, in which individuals in the screened arm were offered nonrehydrated gFOBT testing every 2 years for nine rounds over a 17-year period. Sixty-seven percent completed the first screen, and more than 90% of individuals invited to each subsequent screen underwent FOBT testing. This trial demonstrated an 18% reduction in CRC mortality at 10 years of follow-up,[14] 15% at 13 years of follow-up (RR, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.73–1.00),[15] and 11% at 17 years of follow-up (RR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.78–1.01).[16] CRC incidence and overall mortality were virtually identical in both arms.

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