A study looking at testing poo for blood to show who might be at risk of cancer of the stomach or bowel

Cancer type:

Anal cancer
Bowel (colorectal) cancer
Colon cancer
Rectal cancer
Stomach cancer

Status:

Results

Phase:

Other

This study was for people who had a low level of red blood cells (anaemia) caused by a lack of iron in the body. This is iron deficiency anaemia. 

The study was open for people to join between 2018 and 2019. The team published the results in 2020.

More about this trial

A low level of red blood cells in the body is anaemia. There are different types of anaemia. A common type is iron deficiency anaemia (IDA).

Iron deficiency anaemia can sometimes be a sign of stomach cancer and bowel cancer. These are gastrointestinal (GI) cancers.

If you have anaemia you might see a specialist doctor. They might arrange for you to have tests such as an endoscopy to look for abnormal areas or bleeding.

In this study researchers used the faecal immunochemical test (FIT) to test for blood in the poo. They thought FIT might help predict who was at risk of having a GI cancer. This could help doctors decide who needed to have an urgent endoscopy.

The main aim was to see whether the FIT test helped to work out who with IDA was at risk of developing GI cancer.

Summary of results

The team found that FIT with other health information could predict whether people with IDA are at risk of developing gastrointestinal (GI) cancer. 

Study design
There were 3 parts in this study. 

In the first part the team looked at the medical history and health information of 2,390 people who had IDA. They looked at how well this could predict who might be at risk of cancer.

In the second stage they looked at how beneficial it might be to add FIT. 80 people took part in this stage.

In the third stage the team developed an app based on their results. 

Results
In the first stage they looked at whether the following were able to predict who was at risk of gastrointestinal cancer:

  • age
  • sex 
  • the amount of haemoglobin Open a glossary item in the blood 

They found that they were strong markers as to whether a person with IDA is at risk of developing GI cancer. 

They also looked at adding another blood test. This was the mean cellular volume (MCV). This test measures the average size of the red blood cells. They found that this test could identify people who were at low risk of developing GI cancer. 

In the second stage of the study, they found that FIT could predict people with IDA who were at a high risk of developing GI cancer. But the number of people it could actually predict correctly was low. 

In the third stage they found that the app was easy and quick to use. 

Conclusion
The team found that:

  • FIT with other health information could predict whether people with IDA are at risk of developing gastrointestinal (GI) cancer
  • the app could support the use of this information in clinical settings 

This could help doctors decide who might need further tests. 

More detailed information
There is more information about this research in the reference below. 

Please note, this article is not in plain English. It has been written for health care professionals and researchers.

Journal articles
Refinement and validation of the IDIOM score for predicting the risk of gastrointestinal cancer in iron deficiency anaemia

Orouba Almilaji, Carla Smith and others
BMJ Open Gastroenterology, 2020. Issue 7. Pages 1 – 7.

Where this information comes from    
We have based this summary on the information in the article above. This has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. We have not analysed the data ourselves. As far as we are aware, the link we list above is active and the article is free and available to view.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Dr Jonathon Snook

Supported by

Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

If you have questions about the trial please contact our cancer information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

14495

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Around 1 in 5 people take part in clinical trials

3 phases of trials

Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK take part in a clinical trial.

Last reviewed:

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