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Colorectal cancer: Immunological tests for more accurate detection of cancer precursors
Date:2/5/2009

so-called quick tests whose results can be obtained directly at any doctor's office. The test results were then compared with the results of the colonoscopies.

The researchers found out that the immunological tests were clearly superior to the HaemOccult screen in the detection of precancerous lesions. Thus, they all identified more than twice the portion of colorectal precancerous lesions. However, the immunological tests varied widely; some of the tests yielded too many "false positives". Most suitable for early detection are those tests that have a high detection rate and, at the same time, reliably give the all-clear if results are unsuspicious.

"Considering the prevalence of colon cancer, consistent screening might contribute substantially to cancer prevention," Herrmann Brenner says. "Despite the availability of colonoscopy free of charge, testing for occult blood still plays an important role, also, for example, in countries that lack the resources to offer colonoscopy to everybody. Therefore it is vital that the best available tests be used in order to improve the accuracy of stool screens. From a scientific point of view, it would be desirable for health insurances to cover the immunological tests, even though they are slightly more expensive than the common enzymatic test."


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Contact: Dr. Sibylle Kohlstaedt
s.kohlstaedt@dkfz.de
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert

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