Easier Cancer Screening Stool Tool Developed

Colon cancer multimarker stool test for genes TFPI2 and BMP3

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Treating colon cancer early is important, but due to the inconvenience of colonoscopy, many people never get screened. A new test for colon cancer is being evaluated that may improve compliance.

In research presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, an experimental test for colon cancer that does not require a colonoscopy was closely examined to see if it worked out in the field as well as it had in the lab.

"Ask your doctor about routine cancer screening."

The highly sensitive test was evaluated to see if any differences in patient population changed the results. After results were cross-checked against a colonoscopy, the study found that only advanced age affected the results, but in further development this effect could adjusted.

The test worked well in all 500 patients examined, regardless of gender, race, alcohol, tobacco, obesity, or medication use.

The multimarker stool test uses the same principles behind the fecal occult blood test by analyzing stool for traces of cancer. The test was developed because the cost of colonoscopy for some patients is prohibitive, and less than half of patients are having regular colorectal cancer screenings.

"This test, if broadly applied, should have a very important impact on reducing both the mortality and incidence of colorectal cancer," test developer, David Ahlquist, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic.

Most importantly, he added, "Patients don't have to change their lifestyle to have this test." Increased screening for colorectal cancer would directly reduce mortality, as treatment for colorectal cancer is very simple as well as curative in early stages of the disease.

Neither price nor availability of the multimarker stool test has been announced yet. The test monitors expression of the genes TFPI2 and BMP3 in the stool.

Results from medical conference abstracts are considered preliminary until published in a peer reviewed journal.

Both The Mayo Clinic and Dr. Ahlquist stated a financial interest in this technology presented in the research.

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Review Date: 
April 12, 2012
Last Updated:
April 14, 2012