May 1990

A Comparative Study of Fecal Occult Blood Tests for Early Detection of Gastrointestinal Pathology

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Family Practice (Drs Stelling and Haddy), Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology (Drs Maimon and Markert), and Microbiology and Immunology (Dr Smith), Wright State University School of Medicine, Dayton, Ohio.

Arch Intern Med. 1990;150(5):1001-1005. doi:10.1001/archinte.1990.00390170055013

• The question of what the most accurate and efficient fecal occult blood testing method is for the early detection of pathological gastrointestinal tract bleeding continues to be intensely debated. In this prospective study, the following five uniquely different slide tests were investigated in 120 patients who underwent gastrointestinal tract investigation: (1) a combination monoclonal antibody guaiac test (Monohaem); (2) an immunologic assay, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, with (3) a highly sensitive guaiac test (Fecatwin S/Feca enzyme immunoassay), (4) a popular guaiac test (Coloscreen III) (comparable with Hemoccult II), and (5) Coloscreen III/VPI (ie, with vegetable peroxidase) inhibitor. Computerized data show efficiency values for detection of fecal occult blood by Coloscreen III-Fecatwin S-Monohaem combined, 93%; Coloscreen III-Monohaem combined, 91%; Monohaem, 87%; Coloscreen III/VPI, 82%; Coloscreen III, 79 percent; enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, 77%; and Fecatwin S, 68%. Results of sensitivity, specificity, false-positive and false-negative test results, tests' predictive value, simplicity, and costs of tests in this clinically based study suggests that the concomitant use of the monoclonal, monospecific test for human hemoglobin and an appropriately sensitive guaiac test is a potentially valuable approach to mass screening and early detection of occult bleeding gastrointestinal tract pathology, including colorectal cancer.

(Arch Intern Med. 1990;150:1001-1005)