Nigel D’Souza has been awarded the prestigious BJS Surgery Prize for his work on the RM Partners-funded NICE FIT clinical trial. The prize was awarded as part of The Association of Coloprotology of Great Britain and Ireland (ACPGI) annual conference, which met virtually this year.

Mr D’Souza led on the clinical trial during his research fellowship at Croydon University Hospital. The trial was set up to assess the accuracy of the faecal immunochemical stool test (FIT) at ruling out colorectal cancer in patients experiencing symptoms suspicious of colorectal cancer.

The study, carried out under the supervision of Mr Muti Abulafi, RM Partners Colorectal Pathway Chair and consultant colorectal surgeon at Croydon University Hospital, recruited over 12,000 patients nationally, from 50 NHS hospitals.

Results showed that the FIT test is effective at ruling out colorectal cancer with 99.6% accuracy when used at a cut off at 10ug/g. This also means approximately 80% of patients who would normally need to undergo a colonoscopy would avoid the invasive procedure with a negative FIT result.

Mr D’Souza said: ‘The NICE FIT clinical trial was needed, as there were numerous knowledge gaps that had to be addressed before we could ensure this test could be used for our very diverse population in England, without missing any cancers.

‘Our results show that FIT is essentially a very accurate home test for bowel cancer. If the test is negative in patients with symptoms, the chance of being cancer free is 99.6%. This test can be performed at home without needing to visit hospital or even your GP, which is particularly useful during this time of coronavirus.

‘We hope that our goal of improving bowel cancer outcomes and care for patients with bowel symptoms, will be achieved with this data.’

The full findings of this study will be published shortly, and the work has informed the RM Partners-led pilot project implementing the use of FIT in primary care in Croydon over the last year. It has also contributed to the development of national guidance for the use of FIT to triage patients during COVID.

Mr D’Souza’s video presentation to the judging panel is available here.

An abstract of the results is available here.