Diagnostic value of symptoms of oesophagogastric cancers in primary care: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Astin, M.P. and Martins, T. and Welton, N. and Neal, R.D. and Rose, P.W. and Hamilton, W. (2015) Diagnostic value of symptoms of oesophagogastric cancers in primary care: a systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of General Practice, 65 (639). DOI: 10.3399/bjgp15X686941

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Background Selection of primary care patients for investigation of potential oesophagogastric cancer is difficult, as the symptoms may represent benign conditions, which are also more common. Aim To review systematically the presenting features of oesophagogastric cancers in primary care, including open-access endoscopy clinics. Design and setting Systematic review and meta-analysis. Method MEDLINE®, Embase, the Cochrane Library, and CINAHL were searched for studies of adults who were symptomatic and presented in primary care or open-access endoscopy clinics. Exclusions were being asymptomatic, screening, or recurrent cancers. Data were extracted to estimate the diagnostic performance of features of oesophagogastric cancers and summarised in a meta-analysis. Results Fourteen studies were identified. The strongest summary sensitivity and specificity estimates were for: dyspepsia 0.42 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.29 to 0.56) and 0.48 (95% CI = 0.31 to 0.65); pain 0.41 (95% CI = 0.24 to 0.62) and 0.75 (95% CI = 0.51 to 0.89); and dysphagia 0.32 (95% CI = 0.17 to 0.52) and 0.92 (95% CI = 0.81 to 0.97). Summary positive likelihood ratios (LR+) and diagnostic odds ratios were: dyspepsia 0.79 (95% CI = 0.55 to 1.15) and 0.65 (95% CI = 0.32 to 1.33); pain 1.64 (95% CI = 1.20 to 2.24) and 2.09 (95% CI = 1.57 to 2.77); and dysphagia 4.32 (95% CI = 2.46 to 7.58) and 5.91 (95% CI = 3.56 to 9.82). Corresponding LR+ were: anaemia 4.32 (95% CI = 2.64 to 7.08); nausea/vomiting/bloating 1.07 (95% CI = 0.52 to 2.19); reflux 0.78 (95% CI = 0.47 to 1.78) and; weight loss 5.46 (95% CI = 3.47 to 8.60). Conclusion Dysphagia, weight loss, and anaemia show the strongest association but with relatively low sensitivity and high specificity. The findings support the value of investigation of these symptoms, but also suggest that, in a population of patients who are low risk but not no-risk, investigation is not currently recommended.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Research Publications
Departments: College of Health and Behavioural Sciences > North Wales Centre for Primary Care Research
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2015 02:49
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2015 03:18
ISSN: 0960-1643
URI: http://e.bangor.ac.uk/id/eprint/5551
Identification Number: DOI: 10.3399/bjgp15X686941
Publisher: Royal College of General Practitioners
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