Familial Cancer

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 459–472 | Cite as

Screening participation for people at increased risk of colorectal cancer due to family history: a systematic review and meta-analysis

  • Driss Ait OuakrimEmail author
  • Trevor Lockett
  • Alex Boussioutas
  • John L. Hopper
  • Mark A. Jenkins
Review Article


We conducted a systematic review and a meta-analysis of observational studies to identify and summarise the level of colorectal cancer (CRC) screening participation for people at increased risk due to family history of the disease. Medline, Cinhal, Embase and PsychInfo databases were comprehensively searched between January 1995 and May 2012 to identify relevant articles. To be included, studies had to report on screening for people who had at least one first-degree relative with CRC and no previous personal diagnosis of the disease. Pooled screening participation levels were calculated for each screening modality. Seventeen studies, accounting for a total of 13,269 subjects with a family history of CRC met the inclusion criteria. Seven studies, including a total of 6,901 subjects had a pooled faecal occult blood testing screening participation (at least once) of 25 % (95 % CI 12–38). Five studies including a total of 5,091 subjects had a pooled sigmoidoscopy-based screening participation (at least once) of 16 % (95 % CI 7–27). Seven studies including a total of 9,965 subjects had pooled participation colonoscopy-based screening (at least once) of 40 % (95 % CI 26–54). There was a significant level of screening heterogeneity between studies. This review identified a substantial underuse of CRC screening for people at increased risk of developing the disease. It highlights the potential opportunity that exists for increasing screening participation among this segment of the population and the need to adjust the current CRC screening policies towards that objective.


Colorectal cancer Family history Screening Guidelines 



Driss Ait Ouakrim was supported by a Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation PhD scholarship (CSIRO, Preventative Heath Flagship). The study was conducted independently of funding agencies. Mark Jenkins is supported by a National Health & Medical Research Council, Australia Senior Research Fellow grant. The study was conducted independently of funding agencies.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Driss Ait Ouakrim
    • 1
    Email author
  • Trevor Lockett
    • 2
  • Alex Boussioutas
    • 3
  • John L. Hopper
    • 1
  • Mark A. Jenkins
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Molecular, Environmental, Genetic and Analytic Epidemiology, School of Population and Global HealthThe University of MelbourneCarltonAustralia
  2. 2.Preventative Health National Research FlagshipCSIRO Food and Nutritional SciencesNorth RydeAustralia
  3. 3.Peter MacCallum Cancer CentreMelbourneAustralia

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