Modeling study suggests potential for risk-stratified screening in China

By combining individual risk factor data from over 26,000 persons in high-risk areas of China, the authors estimate that focusing endoscopic screening on only those at high-risk can have substantial benefits in efficiency.

Cancer Commun (Lond). 2021 Jun 19. doi: 10.1002/cac2.12186. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34146456.

Improved esophageal squamous cell carcinoma screening effectiveness by risk-stratified endoscopic screening: evidence from high-risk areas in China.

Li H, Ding C, Zeng H, Zheng R, Cao M, Ren J, Shi J, Sun D, He S, Yang Z, Yu Y, Zhang Z, Sun X, Guo G, Song G, Wei W, Chen W, He J.


Background: Risk-stratified endoscopic screening (RSES), which offers endoscopy to those with a high risk of esophageal cancer, has the potential to increase effectiveness and reduce endoscopic demands compared with the universal screening strategy (i.e., endoscopic screening for all targets without risk prediction). Evidence of RSES in high-risk areas of China is limited. This study aimed to estimate whether RSES based on a 22-score esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) risk prediction model could optimize the universal endoscopic screening strategy for ESCC screening in high-risk areas of China.

Methods: Eight epidemiological variables in the ESCC risk prediction model were collected retrospectively from 26,618 individuals aged 40-69 from three high-risk areas of China who underwent endoscopic screening between May 2015 and July 2017. The model's performance was estimated using the area under the curve (AUC). Participants were categorized into a high-risk group and a low-risk group with a cutoff score having sensitivities of both ESCC and severe dysplasia and above (SDA) at more than 90.0%.

Results: The ESCC risk prediction model had an AUC of 0.80 (95% confidence interval: 0.75-0.84) in this external population. We found that a score of 8 (ranging from 0 to 22) had a sensitivity of 94.2% for ESCC and 92.5% for SDA. The RSES strategy using this threshold score would allow 50.6% of endoscopies to be avoided and save approximately US$ 0.59 million compared to universal endoscopic screening among 26,618 participants. In addition, a higher prevalence of SDA (1.7% vs. 0.9%), a lower number need to screen (60 vs. 111), and a lower average cost per detected SDA (US$ 3.22 thousand vs. US$ 5.45 thousand) could have been obtained by the RSES strategy.

Conclusions: The RSES strategy based on individual risk has the potential to optimize the universal endoscopic screening strategy in ESCC high-risk areas of China.

© 2021 The Authors. Cancer Communications published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd. on behalf of Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center.

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