Impact of Systematic False-Negative Test Results on the Performance of Faecal Occult Blood Screening

Published in: European Journal of Cancer, v. 31, 2001, p. 912-917

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2001

by Franka Loeve, Rob Boer, Gerritt J van Oortmarssen, Marjolein van Ballegooijen, John Dik F Habbema

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The impact of systematic false-negative test results on mortality reduction and on programme sensitivity of annual faecal occult blood testing in ages 50-84 years is explored using a microsimulation model. The authors made calculations for test sensitivities of 80. 50 and 30%. In order to reproduce a cancer detection rate of 2.2 per 1000 at the first screening, the corresponding mean preclinical sojourn times had to be 1.42, 2.30 and 3.84 years, respectively. The fraction systematic results among the false-negative results is varied between 0 and 100%. With 80% test sensitivity, the reduction in mortality due to screening decreases from 25% without systematic results to 23% when all false-negative results are systematic and the programme sensitivity decreases from 63 to 58%. With 30% test sensitivity, mortality reduction decreases from 21 to II% and programme sensitivity decreases from 52 to 27%. The impact of systematic false-negative test results is important if annual FOBT screening is considered.

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