Head-to-Head Diagnostic Test Accuracy Meta-analysis of Colonoscopy and Fecal Immunochemical Test in Detecting Advanced Colon Neoplasia

Mohammad Yaghoobi, Parsa Mehraban Far, Lawrence Mbuagbaw, Yuhong Yuan, David Armstrong, Lehana Thabane, Paul Moayyedi



Studies on the use of fecal immunochemical test (FIT) in colorectal screening have long assumed perfect accuracy for colonoscopy. No study to date has directly compared the diagnostic accuracy of colonoscopy and FIT to detect advanced neoplasia (AN) in a head-to-head diagnostic accuracy meta-analysis.


A comprehensive electronic search was performed for a head-to-head comparison of FIT and colonoscopy using a third acceptable reference standard in asymptomatic adults. Cochrane methodology was used to perform a head-to-head diagnostic test accuracy meta-analysis. Quality assessment tool for diagnostic accuracy studies-2 (QUADAS-2) was used to assess the risk of bias in included studies.


Two studies met the eligibility criteria. Overall sensitivity and specificity were 98.5 (95% CI 96.3-100%) and 100% (99.9-100%) for colonoscopy and 16.4% (10.3-22.6%) and 95.4% (94.3-96.4%) for FIT. Colonoscopy was significantly better than FIT (P<0.0001). The positive and negative likelihood ratios were 1.75 (1.57-1.96) and 0.03 (0.01-0.08) for colonoscopy and 3.02 (2.01-4.55) and 0.88 (0.82-0.95) for FIT, respectively.


Colonoscopy provides significantly better diagnostic accuracy to detect AN compared with FIT (GRADE: ⨁⨁◯◯). Our study provided precise sensitivity and specificity of both colonoscopy and FIT and a revision in screening policies based on an updated cost-effectiveness analysis considering the results of the head-to-head analysis.


Fecal immunochemical test, Colonoscopy, Diagnostic Accuracy

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