Objective: The aim of this study was to determine whether lectin binding to exfoliated human colonocytes could be used as a noninvasive test for colorectal polyps or cancer.
Methods: Colonocytes were harvested from 31 patients (10 controls, 10 with adenomatous polyps, and 11 with cancer), incubated with a panel of fluorescent-labeled lectins, and assayed by flow cytometry.
Results: The lectins jacalin (JAC) and wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) were useful in predicting the presence of a colorectal neoplasm (p = 0.0018 for JAC and p = 0.0099 for WGA). For JAC, sensitivity reached 81% with a specificity of 80%, and for WGA the sensitivity and specificity were both 75%.
Conclusions: Lectin binding to human colonocytes can predict the presence of malignant and premalignant lesions of the colon, and has potential as a noninvasive screening tool for colorectal neoplasms.