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1.  Prospective cross-sectional study on faecal immunochemical tests: sex specific cut-off values to obtain equal sensitivity for colorectal cancer? 
BMC Gastroenterology  2014;14(1):217.
Faecal immunochemical tests (FITs) are commonly used in colorectal cancer (CRC) screening. Diagnostic accuracy of FIT differs between males and females. This so far unexplained difference could result in a dissimilarity in screening outcome between both sexes. The aim of this study is to compare sensitivity and specificity of a FIT between males and females, and study potential explanatory variables.
In this cross-sectional study, data were prospectively collected. 3,022 subjects performed a FIT prior to complete colonoscopy. Sensitivity, specificity, and ROC curves were compared for both sexes. Potential explanatory variables of the relation between sensitivity and sex were explored.
At all cut-off values, FIT sensitivity for CRC was higher (range 13-23%) and specificity was lower (range 2-4%) in males compared to females. At 75 ng/ml, sensitivity for CRC was 93% in males compared to 71% in females (p = 0.03), and specificity was 90% in males compared to 93% in females (p = <0.05). For advanced adenomas, males had a slightly higher sensitivity and lower specificity (not significant). At 75 ng/ml, sensitivity for advanced adenomas was 33% in males compared to 29% in females (p = 0.46), and specificity was 93% in males compared to 95% in females (p = 0.22). ROC curves were similar for both sexes, and equal combinations of sensitivity and specificity could be achieved by adjusting the cut-off values. For CRC, the difference in sensitivity could not be explained by age or location of the tumour.
FIT has a higher sensitivity and a lower specificity for CRC in males than in females. Equal test characteristics can be achieved by allowing separate cut-off values for both sexes. Location and age do not explain the observed differences in sensitivity.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12876-014-0217-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4302436  PMID: 25528043
Colorectal cancer screening; Advanced adenoma; Fecal immunochemical test; Sex
2.  Faecal immunochemical test accuracy in patients referred for surveillance colonoscopy: a multi-centre cohort study 
BMC Gastroenterology  2012;12:94.
Given the increasing burden on colonoscopy capacity, it has been suggested that faecal immunochemical test (FIT) results could guide surveillance colonoscopy intervals. Against this background, we have evaluated the test accuracy of single and double FIT sampling to detect colorectal cancer (CRC) and/or advanced adenomas in an asymptomatic colonoscopy-controlled high-risk population.
Cohort study of asymptomatic high-risk patients (personal history of adenomas/CRC or family history of CRC), who provided one or two FITs before elective colonoscopy. Test accuracy of FIT for detection of CRC and advanced adenomas was determined (cut-off level 50 ng/ml).
1,041 patients provided a FIT (516 personal history of adenomas, 172 personal history of CRC and 353 family history of CRC). Five CRCs (0.5%) and 101 advanced adenomas (9.7%) were detected by colonoscopy. Single FIT sampling resulted in a sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV for CRC of 80%, 89%, 3% and 99.9%, respectively, and for advanced adenoma of 28%, 91%, 24% and 92%, respectively. Double FIT sampling did not result in a significantly higher sensitivity for advanced neoplasia. Simulation of multiple screening rounds indicated that sensitivity of FIT for advanced adenoma could reach 81% after 5 screening rounds.
In once-only FIT sampling before surveillance colonoscopy, 70% of advanced neoplasia were missed. A simulation approach indicates that multiple screening rounds may be more promising in detecting advanced neoplasia and could potentially alleviate endoscopic burden.
PMCID: PMC3444435  PMID: 22828158
Colorectal cancer; Faecal immunochemical test (FIT); Surveillance; Advanced adenoma; Sensitivity
3.  Colonic stenting as bridge to surgery versus emergency surgery for management of acute left-sided malignant colonic obstruction: a multicenter randomized trial (Stent-in 2 study) 
BMC Surgery  2007;7:12.
Acute left-sided colonic obstruction is most often caused by malignancy and the surgical treatment is associated with a high mortality and morbidity rate. Moreover, these operated patients end up with a temporary or permanent stoma. Initial insertion of an enteral stent to decompress the obstructed colon, allowing for surgery to be performed electively, is gaining popularity. In uncontrolled studies stent placement before elective surgery has been suggested to decrease mortality, morbidity and number of colostomies. However stent perforation can lead to peritoneal tumor spill, changing a potentially curable disease in an incurable one. Therefore it is of paramount importance to compare the outcomes of colonic stenting followed by elective surgery with emergency surgery for the management of acute left-sided malignant colonic obstruction in a randomized multicenter fashion.
Patients with acute left-sided malignant colonic obstruction eligible for this study will be randomized to either emergency surgery (current standard treatment) or colonic stenting as bridge to elective surgery. Outcome measurements are effectiveness and costs of both strategies. Effectiveness will be evaluated in terms of quality of life, morbidity and mortality. Quality of life will be measured with standardized questionnaires (EORTC QLQ-C30, EORTC QLQ-CR38, EQ-5D and EQ-VAS). Morbidity is defined as every event leading to hospital admission or prolonging hospital stay. Mortality will be analyzed as total mortality as well as procedure-related mortality. The total costs of treatment will be evaluated by counting volumes and calculating unit prices. Including 120 patients on a 1:1 basis will have 80% power to detect an effect size of 0.5 on the EORTC QLQ-C30 global health scale, using a two group t-test with a 0.05 two-sided significance level. Differences in quality of life and morbidity will be analyzed using mixed-models repeated measures analysis of variance. Mortality will be compared using Kaplan-Meier curves and log-rank statistics.
The Stent-in 2 study is a randomized controlled multicenter trial that will provide evidence whether or not colonic stenting as bridge to surgery is to be performed in patients with acute left-sided colonic obstruction.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN46462267.
PMCID: PMC1925059  PMID: 17608947

Results 1-3 (3)