Callum Fraser

+44 (0)1382 553799
Senior Research Fellow


Professor Fraser graduated BSc and PhD from the University of Aberdeen. After a year of postdoctoral work in the National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa, he returned to the University of Aberdeen as Lecturer in Chemical Pathology. From 1975, he was Chief Clinical Biochemist at the then new Flinders Medical Centre in South Australia and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Clinical Biochemistry in the Flinders University of South Australia, later Associate Professor. He returned to Scotland in 1983 and was Director of Biochemical Medicine, NHS Tayside, and Honorary Senior Lecturer in the Universities of Dundee and St Andrews. He is currently Senior Research Fellow, Scottish Bowel Screening Research Unit; Honorary Professor, Centre for Research into Cancer Prevention and Screening, University of Dundee, and Honorary Consultant Clinical Biochemist, NHS Tayside. He has published over 300 papers, 13 book chapters and two monographs, *Interpretation of Clinical Chemistry Laboratory Data” and the best-selling “Biological Variation: From Principles to Practice”: both books have been translated into Spanish and the second into Japanese, Russian, Italian and Turkish also. He has served on many regional, national and international professional bodies. Over the last 15 years, he has been heavily involved in the setting up of the UK Colorectal Cancer Screening Pilot, the development and roll-out of the Scottish Bowel Screening Programme and the assessment of newer faecal tests. He is a founding Member of the Expert Working Group on Faecal Immunochemical Tests for Screening of the Colorectal Cancer Screening Committee, World Endoscopy Organization. He has been honoured by the Foundation Award and Honorary Membership of the Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine. He has also been honoured with the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine award for important achievements as a scientist in laboratory medicine.


Current research interests include:

Assessment of newer faecal tests in colorectal cancer screening and assessment of patients with lower abdominal symptoms:

Making better use of quantitative measurements of faecal haemoglobin concentration including in risk scoring systems:

Generation and application of data on biological variation.

PhD supervision

Most recent: Jayne Digby “Faecal haemoglobin in screening and assessment of the symptomatic” 2016

Lectures and conferences

Acted as invited Chairman of an Industrial Sponsored Workshop on faecal tests held in Leeds as part of FOCUS, the annual meeting of the Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine, May, 2017.

Gave lecture on “Applying FIT to advantage in triage of the symptomatic” in January, 2017, to the Endoscopy Department, Western General infirmary, Edinburgh.

Gave invited lecture on “Faecal haemoglobin” in Manchester in December, 2016, to the annual meeting of Wales External Quality Assessment Scheme users.

Gave invited lecture on “Diagnosis of colorectal disease: the role of faecal haemoglobin in Edinburgh” in November, 2016, to the annual meeting of the Institute of Biomedical Science.

Presented lecture on “Applying FIT to its optimum capability: how to use FIT to real advantage” at the Colorectal Cancer Screening Symposium, a component of the meeting of GESA, the Gastroenterological Society of Australasia, in Adelaide, in October 2016.


The research work undertaken has led to assisting NICE with creation of the guideline (DG30): Quantitative faecal immunochemical tests to guide referral for colorectal cancer in primary care, published in July 2017

Blogs for the Scottish Cancer Prevention Network raise wider awareness of the research performed, most recently:

Contributed to web discussions on faecal tests, particularly on their use in assessment of symptomatic patients, and a further article was published the widely circulated Gastroenterology Today on FIT in screening and assessment of the symptomatic.

Contributed to the research planning of Bowel Cancer UK.

Gave a talk on the different uses of FIT to the Scottish volunteers of Bowel Cancer UK in Glasgow in May, 2017

The research that has been done over the past 20 years by the team has led to full roll-out of the Scottish Bowel Screening Programme, the adoption of a new screening algorithm, the introduction of a new quantitative faecal haemoglobin measurement system for the Programme and a wide awareness of the many new clinical applications of faecal haemoglobin concentration measurements, particularly the more novel application of faecal tests in assessment of patients presenting in primary care.


Publications in 2016 and 2017 to date

Arana-Arri E, Idigoras I, Uranga B, Pérez R, Irurzun A, Gutiérrez-Ibarluzea I, Fraser CG, Portillo I; EUSKOLON Group. Population-based colorectal cancer screening programmes using a faecal immunochemical test: should faecal haemoglobin cut-offs differ by age and sex? BMC Cancer 2017;17:577.

Digby J, Fraser CG, Carey FA, Steele RJC. Can the performance of a quantitative FIT-based colorectal cancer screening programme be enhanced by lowering the threshold and increasing the interval?

Gut. 2017 Aug 24. pii: gutjnl-2017-314862. [Epub ahead of print].

Fraser CG, Sandberg S. Biological variation. In: Tietz Textbook of Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics. Ed; Rifai N. Sixth edition. Elsevier, 2017.

Fraser CG. Biological variation: a rapidly evolving aspect of laboratory medicine. J Lab Precis Med 2017;2:35-9.

Quyn AJ, Steele RJ, Digby J, Strachan JA, Mowat C, McDonald PJ, Carey FA, Godber IM, Younes HB, Fraser CG. Application of NICE guideline NG12 to the initial assessment of patients with lower gastrointestinal symptoms: not FIT for purpose? Ann Clin Biochem. 2017 Jan 1. [Epub ahead of print].

Hansen SI, Petersen PH, Lund F, Fraser CG, Sölétormos G. Separate patient serum sodium medians from males and females provide independent information on analytical bias. Clin Chem Lab Med. 2017 Apr 27. [Epub ahead of print].

Lund F, Petersen PH, Fraser CG, Sölétormos G. Calculation of reference change values using more than two results is a difficult task. Ann Clin Biochem. 2017;54(3):412-413.

Cubiella J, Digby J, Rodríguez-Alonso L, Vega P, Salve M, Díaz-Ondina M, Strachan JA, Mowat C, McDonald PJ, Carey FA, Godber IM, Younes HB, Rodriguez-Moranta F, Quintero E, Álvarez-Sánchez V, Fernández-Bañares F, Boadas J, Campo R, Bujanda L, Garayoa A, Ferrandez Á, Piñol V, Rodríguez-Alcalde D, Guardiola J, Steele RJ, Fraser CG; COLONPREDICT study investigators. The fecal hemoglobin concentration, age and sex test score: Development and external validation of a simple prediction tool for colorectal cancer detection in symptomatic patients. Int J Cancer. 2017;140(10):2201-2211.

Passamonti B, Malaspina M, Fraser CG, Tintori B, Carlani A, D'Angelo V, Galeazzi P, Di Dato E, Mariotti L, Bulletti S, D'Amico MR, Gustinucci D, Martinelli N, Spita N, Cesarini E, Rubeca T, Giaimo M, Segnan N, Senore C. A comparative effectiveness trial of two faecal immunochemical tests for haemoglobin (FIT). Assessment of test performance and adherence in a single round of a population-based screening programme for colorectal cancer. Gut. 2016 Dec 14. [Epub ahead of print].

Fraser CG. Diagnostic work-up of patients presenting in primary care with lower abdominal symptoms: which faecal test and triage strategy should be used? BMC Med. 2016;14(1):139.

Steele RJ, Stanners G, Lang J, Brewster DH, Carey FA, Fraser CG. Interval cancers in a national colorectal cancer screening programme. United European Gastroenterol J. 2016;4(4):587-94.

Digby J, Fraser CG, Carey FA, Diament RH, Balsitis M, Steele RJ. Faecal haemoglobin concentration is related to detection of advanced colorectal neoplasia in the next screening round. J Med Screen. 2017;24(2):62-68.

Lund F, Petersen PH, Fraser CG, Sölétormos G. Different percentages of false-positive results obtained using five methods for the calculation of reference change values based on simulated normal and ln-normal distributions of data. Ann Clin Biochem. 2016;53(6):692-698.

Petersen PH, Lund F, Fraser CG, Sölétormos G. Analytical performance specifications for changes in assay bias (?bias) for data with logarithmic distributions as assessed by effects on reference change values. Ann Clin Biochem. 2016;53(6):686-691.

Digby J, Fraser CG, Carey FA, Lang J, Stanners G, Steele RJ. Interval cancers using a quantitative faecal immunochemical test (FIT) for haemoglobin when colonoscopy capacity is limited. J Med Screen. 2016;23(3):130-4.

Godber IM, Todd LM, Fraser CG, MacDonald LR, Younes HB. Use of a faecal immunochemical test for haemoglobin can aid in the investigation of patients with lower abdominal symptoms. Clin Chem Lab Med. 2016;54(4):595-602.

Fraser CG, Strachan JA. A nicer approach to the use of 'faecal occult blood tests' in assessment of the symptomatic. Ann Clin Biochem. 2016;53(Pt 1):5-6.

Mowat C, Digby J, Strachan JA, Wilson R, Carey FA, Fraser CG, Steele RJ. Faecal haemoglobin and faecal calprotectin as indicators of bowel disease in patients presenting to primary care with bowel symptoms. Gut. 2016;65(9):1463-9.

Fraser CG. Assessment of faecal haemoglobin concentration distributions is vital for faecal immunochemical test (FIT)-based colorectal cancer screening programmes. J Med Screen. 2016;23(1):52-3.

Auge JM, Fraser CG, Rodriguez C, Roset A, Lopez-Ceron M, Grau J, Castells A, Jimenez W. Clinical utility of one versus two faecal immunochemical test samples in the detection of advanced colorectal neoplasia in symptomatic patients. Clin Chem Lab Med. 2016;54(1):125-32.