Validity of fecal occult blood test in the National Cancer Screening Program, Korea

Aesun Shin, Kui Son Choi, Jae Kwan Jun, Dai Keun Noh, Mina Suh, Kyu Won Jung, Byung Chang Kim, Jae Hwan Oh, Eun Cheol Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: The aims of the current study were to assess the validity of the fecal occult blood test (FOBT) in an organized screening setting in Korea and to determine factors associated with FOBT validity, such as screening round, age group, and anatomical location of the cancer. Methods: Study participants were those who were 50 years and older who received an FOBT through the National Cancer Screening Program between 2004 and 2007. Colorectal cancer diagnoses were ascertained through linkage with the Korean National Cancer Incidence Database. The positivity rate, colorectal cancer detection rate, interval cancer rate, sensitivity, specificity, and positive predictive value of the FOBT were calculated. Results: A total of 2,193,093 tests were included in the analysis. Overall, the sensitivity of the FOBT for colorectal cancer was 59.7% for the first round and 56.1% for the subsequent round. Sensitivity was highest for distal colon cancer (65.9%) in the first round, and for rectal cancer (58.4%) for the subsequent round. The sensitivity and positive predictive value of the FOBT generally improved between 2004 and 2008. Conclusions: The FOBT showed reasonable validity in an organized screening setting, and the validity of the FOBT varied by screening round, anatomical location, and screening year.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere79292
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Nov 8

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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