Population-based organized screening by faecal immunochemical testing and colorectal cancer mortality: a natural experiment

Matthew T Keys, Miquel Serra-Burriel*, Natalia Martínez-Lizaga, Maria Pellisé, Francesc Balaguer, Ariadna Sánchez, Enrique Bernal-Delgado, Antoni Castells


Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


BACKGROUND: Population-based organized screening programmes for colorectal cancer (CRC) are underway worldwide, with many based on the faecal immunochemical test (FIT). No clinical trials assessing FIT compared with no screening are planned, and few studies have assessed the population impact of such programmes.

METHODS: Before 2010, 11 out of 50 Spanish provinces initiated population-based organized screening programmes with FIT for an average-risk population aged 50-69 years. We used a quasi-experimental design across Spanish provinces between 1999 and 2016 to evaluate their impact on population age-standardized mortality and incidence rates due to CRC. Difference-in-differences and synthetic control analyses were performed to test for validation of statistical assumptions and to assess the dynamics of screening-associated changes in outcomes over time.

RESULTS: No differences in outcome trends between exposed (n = 11) and control (n = 36) provinces were observed for up to 7 years preceding the implementation of screening. Relative to controls, exposed provinces experienced a mean increase in age-standardized incidence of 10.08% [95% confidence interval (CI) (5.09, 15.07)] 2 years after implementation, followed by a reduction in age-standardized mortality rates due to CRC of 8.82% [95% CI (3.77, 13.86)] after 7 years. Results were similar for both women and men. No associated changes were observed in adjacent age bands not targeted by screening, nor for 10 other major causes of death in the exposed provinces.

CONCLUSIONS: FIT-based organized screening in Spain was associated with reductions in population colorectal cancer mortality. Further research is warranted in order to assess the replicability and external validity of our findings, and on gender-specific use of FIT in organized screening.

TidsskriftInternational Journal of Epidemiology
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)143-155
StatusUdgivet - feb. 2021


Dyk ned i forskningsemnerne om 'Population-based organized screening by faecal immunochemical testing and colorectal cancer mortality: a natural experiment'. Sammen danner de et unikt fingeraftryk.