test based on detection of a protein in stool samples appears
to be a noninvasive and accurate method of detecting colon
cancer, British researchers reported in The Lancet.
Coleman of the MRC Cancer Cell Unit in Cambridge said the
minichromosome maintenance protein 2 (MCM2) was found in stool
samples of 37 of 40 patients with symptomatic colorectal cancer.
the cells from 25 healthy subjects in a control group expressed
MCM2, he reported.
protein is present in normal large bowel mucosa, but it only
is found in cells on the surface of the colon when polyps
or cancer are present. Researchers theorized that in patients
with cancer, cells with MCM2 protein might be sloughed off
and be detectible in the stool.
used three different methods of retrieving cells with the
MCM2 protein from the stool: a direct smear method, a centrifugation
technique, and a magnetic microbead technique. They reported
that the direct smear and centrifugation techniques retrieved
MCM2-positive cells in significantly more cases than the microbead
the requirement for rapid stool processing, our approach might
ultimately prove suitable for population screening, either
alone or in combination with other tests," the researchers
Cancer Week of June 2, 2002