Full Blood Count Trends for Colorectal Cancer Detection in Primary Care: Development and Validation of a Dynamic Prediction Model.
Virdee PS., Patnick J., Watkinson P., Holt T., Birks J.
Colorectal cancer has low survival rates when late-stage, so earlier detection is important. The full blood count (FBC) is a common blood test performed in primary care. Relevant trends in repeated FBCs are related to colorectal cancer presence. We developed and internally validated dynamic prediction models utilising trends for early detection. We performed a cohort study. Sex-stratified multivariate joint models included age at baseline (most recent FBC) and simultaneous trends over historical haemoglobin, mean corpuscular volume (MCV), and platelet measurements up to baseline FBC for two-year risk of diagnosis. Performance measures included the c-statistic and calibration slope. We analysed 250,716 males and 246,695 females in the development cohort and 312,444 males and 462,900 females in the validation cohort, with 0.4% of males and 0.3% of females diagnosed two years after baseline FBC. Compared to average population trends, patient-level declines in haemoglobin and MCV and rise in platelets up to baseline FBC increased risk of diagnosis in two years. C-statistic: 0.751 (males) and 0.763 (females). Calibration slope: 1.06 (males) and 1.05 (females). Our models perform well, with low miscalibration. Utilising trends could bring forward diagnoses to earlier stages and improve survival rates. External validation is now required.