Background: Gastric and colorectal cancer (CRC) are both one of the most common cancers worldwide. In many countries fecal immunochemical tests (FIT)-based CRC screening has been implemented. We investigated if FIT can also be applied for detection of H. pylori, the main risk factor for gastric cancer. Methods: This prospective study included participants over 18 years of age referred for urea breath test (UBT). Patients were excluded if they had used antibiotics/bismuth in the past 4 weeks, or a proton pomp inhibitor (PPI) in the past 2 weeks. Participants underwent UBT, ELISA stool antigen test in standard feces tube (SAT), ELISA stool antigen test in FIT tube (Hp-FIT), and blood sampling, and completed a questionnaire on user friendliness. UBT results were used as reference. Results: A total of 182 patients were included (37.4% male, median age 52.4 years (IQR 22.4)). Of these, 60 (33.0%) tested H. pylori positive. SAT and Hp-FIT showed comparable overall accuracy 71.1% (95%CI 63.2–78.3) vs. 77.6% (95%CI 70.4–83.8), respectively (p = 0.97). Sensitivity of SAT was 91.8% (95%CI 80.4–97.7) versus 94.2% (95%CI 84.1–98.9) of Hp-FIT (p = 0.98). Serology scored low with an overall accuracy of 49.7% (95%CI 41.7–57.7). Hp-FIT showed the highest overall user convenience. Conclusions: FIT can be used with high accuracy and sensitivity for diagnosis of H. pylori and is rated as the most convenient test. Non-invasive Hp-FIT test is highly promising for combined upper and lower gastrointestinal (pre-) cancerous screening. Further research should investigate the clinical implications, benefits and cost-effectiveness of such an approach.
The authors would like to acknowledge B.H.C.M. Roovers, J. Francke, M. Ouwendijk and F. van Deurzen for their assistance in the execution of the tests in the Erasmus MC. We would also like to acknowledge A. van Liere-Baron for her assistance in organizational tasks and logistics at the Albert Schweitzer Hospital. This study was supported by the Dutch Digestive Foundation (D18-02).
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