Impact of the quality of bowel cleansing on the efficacy of colonic cancer screening: A prospective, randomized, blinded study

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OBJECTIVES: Efficacy of two low volume bowel cleansing preparations, polyethylene glycol plus ascorbate (PEG + Asc) and sodium picosulfate/magnesium citrate (NaPic/MgCit), were compared for polyp and adenoma detection rate (PDR and ADR) and overall cleansing ability. Primary endpoint was PDR (the number of patients with ≥ 1 polypoid or flat lesion recorded by the colonoscopist). METHODS: Diagnostic, surveillance or screening colonoscopy patients were enrolled into this investigator-blinded, multi-center Phase IV study and randomized 1:1 to receive PEG + Asc (administered the evening before and the morning of colonoscopy, per label) or NaPic/MgCit (administered in the morning and afternoon the day before colonoscopy, per label). The blinded colonoscopist documented any lesion and assessed cleansing quality (Harefield Cleansing Scale). RESULTS: Of 394 patients who completed the study, 393 (PEG + Asc, N = 200; NaPic/MgCit, N = 193) had a colonoscopy. Overall PDR for PEG+Asc versus NaPic/MgCit was 51.5% versus 44.0%, p = 0.139. PDR and ADR on the right side of the bowel were significantly higher with PEG + Asc versus NaPic/MgCit (PDR: 56[28.0%] versus 32[16.6%], p = 0.007; ADR: 42[21.0%] versus 23[11.9%], p = 0.015), as was detection of flat lesions (43[21.5%] versus 25[13.0%], p = 0.025). Cleansing quality was better with PEG + Asc than NaPic/MgCit (98.5% versus 57.5% considered successful cleansing). Overall, there were 132 treatment-emergent adverse events (93 versus 39 for PEG+Asc and NaPic/MgCit, respectively). These were mainly mild abdominal symptoms, all of which were reported for higher proportions of patients in the PEG+Asc than NaPic/MgCit group. Twice as many patients in the NaPic/MgCit versus the PEG + Asc group reported tolerance of cleansing solution as 'very good'. CONCLUSIONS: Compared with NaPic/MgCit, PEG + Asc may be more efficacious for overall cleansing ability, and subsequent detection of right-sided and flat lesions. This is likely attributable to the different administration schedules of the two bowel cleansing preparations, which may positively impact the detection and prevention of colorectal cancer, thereby improving mortality rates. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT01689792.




Pohl, J., Halphen, M., Kloess, H. R., & Fischbach, W. (2015). Impact of the quality of bowel cleansing on the efficacy of colonic cancer screening: A prospective, randomized, blinded study. PLoS ONE, 10(5).

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