D-H research team approved for $32.7 million for study on colorectal cancer screening in older adults

Audrey H. Calderwood, MD, MS

I am very excited to work together with our team of patient partners and stakeholders, including primary care providers, advocacy organizations, medical system and population health representatives, and payors on this important project.

Audrey H. Calderwood, MD, MS

A research team at Dartmouth-Hitchcock led by Audrey H. Calderwood, MD, MS, director of the Comprehensive Gastroenterology Center, and associate professor of medicine at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice (TDI), has been approved for a $32.7 million funding award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) for a large study on colonoscopy versus stool-based testing for older adults with a history of colon polyps.

“Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in men and women in the United States. The proposed trial will compare colonoscopy and stool-based testing for the prevention of colorectal cancer in adults 70 and older with prior small colon polyps,” said Calderwood. “In addition, we will gather information on important patient-centered outcomes, including satisfaction with and trust in testing, cancer worry, perceived cancer susceptibility and emotional benefits of surveillance. Results will bring meaningful change in the delivery of colorectal cancer prevention for older adults with a history of colon polyps by offering a safe and convenient alternative to colonoscopy.”

This study was selected for funding through a PCORI initiative to support large-scale, high-impact comparative effectiveness research trials in a multi-phase format allowing for testing and refinement of the study approach. The study will involve an initial feasibility phase to maximize the likelihood of full trial success. Calderwood’s study was selected through a highly competitive review process in which patients, caregivers and other stakeholders joined scientists to evaluate the proposals.

“I am very excited to work together with our team of patient partners and stakeholders, including primary care providers, advocacy organizations, medical system and population health representatives, and payors on this important project,” continued Calderwood.

Co-investigators on the study include Douglas J. Robertson, MD, MPH, chief of Gastroenterology at the White River Junction VA, and professor of medicine at TDI, and Karen E. Schifferdecker, PhD, MPH, director of the Center for Program Design and Evaluation at Dartmouth, and associate professor of community and family medicine at TDI.

This award has been approved pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of a formal award contract.

PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers, and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed healthcare decisions.

“The study has the potential to fill an important evidence gap relevant to a range of health care decision-makers and help them better assess their care options,” said PCORI Executive Director Nakela L. Cook, MD, MPH. “We look forward to following the study’s progress and working with Dr. Calderwood to share her results.”

For more information about PCORI’s funding, visit www.pcori.org.  

About Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health (D-HH), New Hampshire’s only academic health system and the state’s largest private employer, serves a population of 1.9 million across northern New England. D-HH provides access to more than 2,000 providers in almost every area of medicine, delivering care at its flagship hospital, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, NH. DHMC was named again in 2020 as the #1 hospital in New Hampshire by U.S. News & World Report, and recognized for high performance in 9 clinical specialties and procedures. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health includes the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, one of only 51 NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, the state’s only children’s hospital; member hospitals in Lebanon, Keene, and New London, NH, and Windsor, VT, and Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire; and 24 Dartmouth-Hitchcock clinics that provide ambulatory services across New Hampshire and Vermont. The D-HH system trains nearly 400 residents and fellows annually, and performs world-class research, in partnership with the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and the White River Junction VA Medical Center in White River Junction, VT.

About the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth

The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, founded in 1797, strives to improve the lives of the communities we serve through excellence in learning, discovery, and healing. The nation's fourth-oldest medical school, the Geisel School of Medicine has been home to many firsts in medical education, research and practice, including the discovery of the mechanism for how light resets biological clocks, creating the first multispecialty intensive care unit, the first comprehensive examination of U.S. health care cost variations (The Dartmouth Atlas), and the first Center for Health Care Delivery Science, which launched in 2010. As one of America's top medical schools, Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine is committed to training new generations of physician leaders who will help solve our most vexing challenges in health care.