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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


DOMENECH, Xènia et al. Interval cancers and episode sensitivity in population-based screening programmes for colorectal cancer: a systematic review. Gac Sanit [online]. 2015, vol.29, n.6, pp.464-471. ISSN 0213-9111.

Objective: To describe interval cancers (IC) and the sensitivity of colorectal cancer (CRC) screening programmes. Methods: A systematic review of the literature was conducted through a MEDLINE (PubMed) search. The search strategy combined the terms 'interval cancer', 'false negative', 'mass screening', 'screening' 'early detection of cancer', 'colorectal cancer' and 'bowel cancer'. Inclusion criteria consisted of population-based screening programmes, original articles written in English or Spanish and publication dates between 1999/01/01 and 2015/02/28. A narrative synthesis of the included articles was performed detailing the characteristics of the screening programmes, the IC rate, and the information sources used in each study. Results: Thirteen articles were included. The episode sensitivity of CRC screening programmes ranged from 42.2% to 65.3% in programmes using the guaiac test and between 59.1% and 87.0% with the immunochemical test. We found a higher proportion of women who were diagnosed with IC and these lesions were mainly located in the proximal colon. Conclusion: There is wide variability in the IC rate in CRC programmes. To ensure comparability between programmes, there is a need for consensus on the working definition of IC and the methods used for their identification and quantification.

Keywords : Mass screening; Colorectal neoplasms; Adverse effects; Interval cancer.

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