As novel, less invasive (non)endoscopic techniques for detection of Barrett’s esophagus (BE) have been developed, there is now renewed interest in screening for BE and related neoplasia. We aimed to determine public preferences for esophageal adenocarcinoma screening to understand the potential of minimally invasive screening modalities.
A discrete choice experiment was conducted in 1,500 individuals, aged 50-75 years, from the general population. Individuals were repeatedly asked to choose between screening scenarios based on conventional upper endoscopy, transnasal endoscopy, nonendoscopic cell collection devices, breath analysis, and a blood test, combined with various levels of test sensitivity and specificity, and no screening. A multinomial logit model was used to estimate individuals’ preferences and to calculate expected participation rates.
In total, 554 respondents (36.9%) completed the survey. The average predicted uptake was 70.5% (95% confidence interval: 69.1%-71.8%). Test sensitivity (47.7%), screening technique (32.6%), and specificity (19.7%) affected screening participation (all P < 0.05). A low test sensitivity had the highest impact on screening participation, resulting in a 25.0% (95% confidence interval: 22.6%-27.7%) decrease. Respondents preferred noninvasive screening tests over endoscopic and capsule-based techniques, but only if sensitivity and specificity were above 80%.
Our study suggests that individuals generally prefer noninvasive BE screening tests. However, these tests would unlikely improve screening uptake when associated with a much lower accuracy for detecting BE and esophageal adenocarcinoma compared with conventional upper endoscopy. Improving accuracy of minimally invasive screening strategies and informing the target population about these accuracies is therefore essential to maximally stimulate screening participation.