This meta-analysis was designed to evaluate the diagnostic performance of stool DNA testing for colorectal cancer (CRC) and compare the performance between single-gene and multiple-gene tests.
MEDLINE, Cochrane, EMBASE databases were searched using keywords colorectal cancers, stool/fecal, sensitivity, specificity, DNA, and screening. Sensitivity analysis, quality assessments, and performance bias were performed for the included studies.
Fifty-three studies were included in the analysis with a total sample size of 7524 patients. The studies were heterogeneous with regard to the genes being analyzed for fecal genetic biomarkers of CRC, as well as the laboratory methods being used for each assay. The sensitivity of the different assays ranged from 2% to 100% and the specificity ranged from 81% to 100%. The meta-analysis found that the pooled sensitivities for single- and multigene assays were 48.0% and 77.8%, respectively, while the pooled specificities were 97.0% and 92.7%. Receiver operator curves and diagnostic odds ratios showed no significant difference between both tests with regard to sensitivity or specificity.
This meta-analysis revealed that using assays that evaluated multiple genes compared with single-gene assays did not increase the sensitivity or specificity of stool DNA testing in detecting CRC.