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Faecal calprotectin (FC) and the faecal immunochemical test for haemoglobin (FIT) are recommended for use in primary care where colorectal cancer (CRC) is not suspected.1 2 We are unclear how best to use these two biomarkers in younger patients where lower gastrointestinal symptoms are extremely common. Distinguishing irritable bowel syndrome from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) from CRC on clinical grounds is often an uncertain exercise. Currently, there is no direct comparative evidence base on which to identify the optimal use of each biomarker. We undertook an illustrative comparison of the diagnostic accuracy of FC in a patient dataset at ‘low risk’ of CRC stratified by age and symptoms, and of FIT, from three existing published studies that included both CRC and IBD in their outcomes.3–11 From an existing dataset of patients using the York Faecal Calprotectin Care Pathway (YFCCP), we identified 1919 patients fulfilling National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) DG30 …
Contributors JT is the guarantor of the article, directed the study and wrote the first draft. CC provided the evaluation dataset and conducted the primary evaluation. AK performed the comparator evaluation. HH provided the health economic analytic model. DT assisted in the preparation of the manuscript. The final version is approved by all the authors.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.