An innovative test to detect colorectal cancer may be certain and more comfortable than current methods. Researchers in Boston, have developed a new technique that identifies a specific protein in a patient's stool that is only present in cancerous colorectal cells. Researchers say the screening method may prove more reliable than the standard tests, colonoscopy and fecal-blood assessment, in detecting the disease in its earlier stages.
Colorectal cancer causes about 300,000 deaths each year worldwide. The protein, mini chromosome maintenance protein 2 (MCM2), was found in 35 of 40 patients known to have colorectal cancer during a recent study. There was no protein found in the samples from 20 healthy individuals.
Lead study author R. Justin Davies, of the MRC Cancer Cell Unit in Cambridge, UK, writes, "These findings suggest that detection of MCM2 expression in colonocytes retrieved from the fecal surface might be of value in the non-invasive diagnosis of malignant colorectal disease."