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Severance Hospital uses stool to diagnose early colorectal cancer
  • By Lee Han-soo
  • Published 2019.03.27 17:41
  • Updated 2019.03.28 11:29
  • comments 0

Severance Hospital and Genomic Tree have discovered a method to use a patient's stool in diagnosing early colorectal cancer and colon polyps, the hospital said Wednesday.

Professors Kim Nam-gyu (left) and Han Yoon-dae

The team, led by Professors Kim Nam-gyu and Han Yoon-dae of the hospital, decided to come up with a new test method after finding that only 30 percent of Korean’s undergo colon endoscopy, the standard technique for the early diagnosis of colorectal cancer.

The team also took into account that the immunochemical fecal occult blood test conducted free of charge annually has a low detection rate of 50 percent for colorectal cancer.

The researchers looked at the accuracy and sensitivity of early colorectal cancer and colon polyps diagnostics using a new epigenetic biomarker, Syndecan-2 (SDC-2) methylation.

The hospital, in association with Genomic tree, had proved that SDC-2 methylation is an essential biomarker in diagnosing colorectal cancer.

The research team analyzed 585 patients who visited Yonsei Cancer Center and Severance Hospital through a design which combined both the prospective and retrospective.

The research team, through prior consent, received a stool from all subjects and conducted a DNA clinical study for each.

The results showed that the sensitivity to diagnose colon cancer was 90.2 percent, regardless of the stage or location of the tumor, the sex or age of the subjects, and the specificity. The method also had 90.2 percent sensitivity in clearing patients of colon cancer.

In particular, the diagnostic sensitivity of colorectal cancer diagnoses between stages zero to two was 89.1 percent, which sufficiently validated the method as an early diagnosis of colorectal cancer.

The team’s method could measure to some extent the colon polyps that are likely to develop into colon cancer. The new test method showed a significant positive rate even for large polyps of 10mm or more and confirmed that it diagnoses only colon cancer as it showed a low positive rate in gastric and liver cancer.

“Due to the complexity of the preparation process and the fear of examination, the rate of colonoscopy participation is low,” Professor Nam said. “The new method is similar to a conventional fecal occult blood test in that it uses the stool, but it can predict the presence of colorectal cancer with much higher accuracy.”

The new test will lead to early colonoscopy for patients with colorectal cancer and colon polyps, which in turn, will improve colorectal cancer outcomes and quality of life, Nam added.

The research team plans to secure the accuracy and reliability of the test through a large-scale cohort study.

Clinical Epigenetics published the results of the study.


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