Comparing a fecal immunochemical test and circulating tumor DNA blood test for colorectal cancer screening adherence

Geraldine Laven-Law, Erin L. Symonds, Jean M. Winter, Gang Chen, Ingrid H. Flight, Donna Hughes-Barton, Carlene J. Wilson, Graeme P. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background and Aim: Colorectal cancer (CRC) screening programs are most effective at reducing disease incidence and mortality through sustained screening participation. A novel blood test modality is being explored for CRC screening, but it is unclear whether it will provide sustained screening participation. This study aimed to investigate whether a circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) blood test improved CRC screening re-participation when compared with a fecal immunochemical test (FIT) and to define the predictors of sustained CRC screening in an Australian population. Methods: South Australians who initially participated in CRC screening using a ctDNA blood test (n = 36) or FIT (n = 547) were offered the same CRC screening test approximately 2 years later through an extended phase of a randomized controlled trial. Surveys collected demographic, psychosocial, and clinical information. Predictors of CRC screening re-participation were explored using chi-square, Wilcoxon tests, and logistic regression. Results: Participants offered a second ctDNA blood test were equally likely to re-participate in CRC screening as those who completed a FIT in the first round and who were offered the same test (61% vs 66% re-participation respectively, P = 0.6). CRC fatalism, health activation, and self-efficacy were associated with repeated screening participation. Test awareness was predictive of repeated FIT-based CRC screening. Conclusions: Targeted interventions to improve CRC screening awareness and increase patient health activation may improve CRC screening adherence. A ctDNA blood test may be a suitable CRC screening option to maintain CRC screening adherence in people who do not participate in screening with FIT.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Circulating tumor DNA
  • CRC
  • CRC screening
  • Fecal immunochemical test
  • Non-invasive biomarkers

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