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Predictive Modeling of Colonoscopic Findings in a Fecal Immunochemical Test-Based Colorectal Cancer Screening Program



The fecal immunochemical test (FIT) is the primary modality used by the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (LADHS) for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening in average-risk patients. Some patients referred for FIT-positive diagnostic colonoscopy have neither adenomas nor more advanced pathology. We aimed to identify predictors of false-positive FIT (FP-FIT) results in our largely disenfranchised, low socioeconomic status population.


We conducted a retrospective study of 596 patients who underwent diagnostic colonoscopy following a positive screening FIT. Colonoscopies showing adenomas (or more advanced pathology) were considered positive. We employed multiple logistic and linear regression as well as machine learning models (MLMs) to identify clinical predictors of FP-FIT (primary outcome) and the presence of advanced adenomas (secondary outcome).


Overall, 268 patients (45.0%) had a FP-FIT. Female sex and hemorrhoids (odds ratios [ORs] 1.59 and 1.89, respectively) were associated with increased odds of FP-FIT and fewer advanced adenomas (β = - 0.658 and  - 0.516, respectively). Conversely, increasing age and BMI (ORs 0.94 and 0.96, respectively) were associated with decreased odds of FP-FIT and a greater number of advanced adenomas (β = 0.073 and 0.041, respectively). MLMs predicted FP-FIT with high specificity (93.8%) and presence of advanced adenoma with high sensitivity (94.4%).


Increasing age and BMI are associated with lower odds of FP-FIT and greater number of advanced adenomas, while female sex and hemorrhoids are associated with higher odds of FP-FIT and fewer advanced adenomas. The presence of the aforementioned predictors may inform the decision to proceed with diagnostic colonoscopy in FIT-positive patients.

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