Molecular stool testing as an alternative for surveillance colonoscopy: a cross-sectional cohort study

Meta C. J. van Lanschot, Beatriz Carvalho, Veerle M. H. Coupe, Manon van Engeland, Evelien Dekker, Gerrit A. Meijer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: As in many other European countries, a nationwide screening program for colorectal cancer (CRC) has recently been introduced in the Netherlands. As a side effect, such a screening program will inherently yield an increase in the demand for surveillance after removal of polyps/adenomas or CRC. Although these patients are at increased risk of metachronous colorectal neoplasia, solid evidence on CRC-related mortality reduction as a result of colonoscopy-based surveillance programs is lacking. Furthermore, colonoscopy-based surveillance leads to high patient burden, high logistic demands and high costs. Therefore, new surveillance strategies are needed. The aim of the present study, named Molecular stool testing for Colorectal CAncer Surveillance (MOCCAS), is to determine the performance characteristics of two established non-invasive tests, i.e., the multitarget stool DNA test Cologuard (R) and the faecal immunochemical test (FIT) in the detection of CRC and advanced adenomas as an alternative for colonoscopy surveillance.

Methods: In this observational cross-sectional cohort study, subjects aged 50 to 75 years will be approached to collect (whole-) stool samples for molecular testing and a FIT prior to their scheduled surveillance colonoscopy. The results of the tests will allow calculation of test sensitivities and specificities in the context of surveillance. This will provide the required input for the Dutch ASCCA model (Adenoma and Serrated pathway to Colorectal CAncer) to simulate surveillance strategies differing in frequency and duration. The model will allow predictions of lifetime health effects and costs. Multiple centres in the Netherlands will participate in the study that aims to include 4,000 individuals.

Discussion: The outcome of this study will inform on the (cost-) effectiveness of stool based molecular testing as an alternative for colonoscopy in the rapidly expanding surveillance population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116
Number of pages8
JournalBMC Cancer
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2017


  • Polypectomy
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Surveillance
  • Multitarget stool DNA testing
  • Cologuard (R)
  • FIT


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