Lectin binding to human colonocytes is predictive of colonic neoplasia

Am J Gastroenterol. 1999 Mar;94(3):744-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.1999.00946.x.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenomatous Polyps / diagnosis
  • Adenomatous Polyps / metabolism
  • Colon / cytology
  • Colon / metabolism*
  • Colonic Polyps / diagnosis
  • Colonic Polyps / metabolism
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Feces / cytology
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Lectins / metabolism*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Plant Lectins*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Wheat Germ Agglutinins / metabolism


  • Lectins
  • Plant Lectins
  • Wheat Germ Agglutinins
  • jacalin