Exact Sciences highlighting new screening research

Exact Sciences is highlighting new research showing the company’s Cologuard test can improve colon cancer screening rates for patients covered by Medicare.

Citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Madison company says a third of Americans aged 50 to 75 aren’t up to date with recommended screening for colon cancer, which is the second-deadliest cancer in the country.

In a study published recently in the scientific journal of the American Gastroenterological Association, researchers reviewed more than 365,000 Cologuard tests from Medicare patients.  

They found 71.1 percent compliance with Cologuard screening. And 90.7 percent of patients who completed the test did so within 60 days of recommendation by their health care provider. During that period, the lab’s patient guidance system sends reminder texts and emails, and makes phone calls as well.

“These findings add to the growing body of real-world evidence that show Cologuard — with its high compliance and high sensitivity — can be part of the solution for patients at average risk for colorectal cancer,” said Mark Stenhouse, president of Cologuard.

One of the major benefits of the test, according to the company, is that patients don’t have to undergo an invasive colonoscopy in order to screen for colon cancer. But the “large majority” of patients with a positive Cologuard test proceed with a recommended colonoscopy, according to a separate research study.  

Using data from the Mayo Clinic, researchers found that of the patients who were found to have colon cancer, the proportion of lesions was higher in patients who had prior colonoscopies, compared to those who were new to screening.

According to the company, that means other prior screenings may have missed the lesions which were detected after following up on the results of the Cologuard test.

“These data underscore the value of Cologuard in improving colorectal cancer screening outcomes for average-risk adults,” Stenhouse said.

The results of these two studies were presented over the weekend at Digestive Disease Week 2019, held in San Diego.

See the study focused on the Medicare population: http://www.gastrojournal.org/article/S0016-5085(19)38398-2/fulltext

See the other study: http://www.gastrojournal.org/article/S0016-5085(19)38402-1/fulltext