Result card

  • TEC2: Why is FIT used?
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Why is FIT used?

Authors: Mirjana Huic, Eleftheria Karampli, Silvia Florescu, Cristian Vladescu

Internal reviewers: Antonio Migliore, Pernilla Östlund, Frida Mowafi, Daniela d’Angela, Jesus Gonzalez

Results {5-8}

FITs /iFOBTs are a class of faecal occult blood tests and one out of few different screening options for colorectal cancer (CRC). The aim of population-based screening for CRC is to reduce mortality through both, prevention (by the removal of adenomas) and earlier diagnosis of CRC.

Overall, the advantages of FIT in contrast to gFOBT are: specificity for human Hb, reducing the number of false positive results and no dietetic restrictions are necessary; increased sensitivity to human Hb; automated analysis and the possibility to set cut-off limits (the latter applies only to quantitative FIT tests).

According to the EU Guidelines for quality assurance in CRC screening and diagnosis (2010) {6}:

-“iFOBT have improved test characteristics than gFOBT, and they are currently the test of choice for population CRC screening. In different settings, individual device characteristics like ease of use by participant and laboratory, suitability for transport, sampling reproducibility and sample stability are important and should be all taken into account when selecting the iFOBT most appropriate for CRC screening programme (Level of evidence II, Grade of recommendation A);


-Maximum period between collection and analysis is significantly shorter than for gFOBT (14-21 days), and screening programmes should adopt the conditions and period of storage described in manufacturers. Instructions for use should be appropriate for local conditions which might expose samples to high temperatures for long period of time (Level of evidence III, Grade of recommendation A);


-The potential for dietary interference is significantly less for iFOBT. With the qualification that a diet peculiar to a particular country or culture may not have been tested or reported, dietary restriction is not indicated for programmes using either gFOBT or iFOBT (Level of evidence II, Strength of recommendation  D)“.


Huic M et al. Result Card TEC2 In: Huic M et al. Description and technical characteristics of technology In: Jefferson T, Cerbo M, Vicari N [eds.]. Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT ) versus guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (FOBT) for colorectal cancer screening [Core HTA], Agenas - Agenzia nazionale per i servizi sanitari regionali; 2014. [cited 28 June 2022]. Available from: