Stool DNA test added to colorectal screening

Volume 5, Issue 4, 2016


Updated guidelines make noninvasive colorectal cancer screening option available to millions.

Photograph of David A. Ahlquist, M.D.

David A. Ahlquist, M.D.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has issued its final colorectal cancer screening recommendations for 2016.

The task force assigns an overall "A" grade to colorectal cancer screening in people ages 50 to 75 and fully recommends several screening exams that now include Cologuard, the stool DNA test co-developed by Mayo Clinic and Exact Sciences Corp.

"The task force decision to include Cologuard will make this accurate and noninvasive new colorectal cancer screening option available to millions of people who may be unable or unwilling to undergo colonoscopy," said David A. Ahlquist, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and co-inventor of the Cologuard test. "This decision will help save lives."

The task force recommendations also recognize the use of Cologuard every three years, in keeping with the recommendation of the American Cancer Society and the coverage interval established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among men and women. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 134,000 people will develop colorectal cancer in 2016, and more than 49,000 will die of the disease.

In August 2014, Mayo Clinic became the first health care organization to offer Cologuard. The Cologuard technology platform was co-developed by Exact Sciences and Mayo Clinic as part of a broad, exclusive collaboration.

Dr. Ahlquist and Mayo Clinic have a financial interest in Cologuard. Neither Mayo Clinic nor Dr. Ahlquist receives royalties for Cologuard tests ordered for Mayo Clinic patients by Mayo Clinic physicians.