Detection of colorectal cancer by a quantitative fluorescence determination of DNA amplification in stool

Neoplasia. Sep-Oct 2004;6(5):536-40. doi: 10.1593/neo.04190.


DNA amplification of exfoliated cells in stool represents an inexpensive and rapid test, but has only 50% to 60% sensitivity. A new quantitative method, called fluorescence long DNA, was developed and validated in our laboratory on stool obtained from 86 patients with primary colorectal cancer and from 62 healthy individuals. It consists of the amplification of stool DNA with fluorescence primers and the quantification of the amplification using a standard curve. Results are arbitrarily expressed in nanograms. The potential of the new method compared to the conventional approach was analyzed in a subgroup of 94 individuals (56 patients and 38 healthy volunteers). In the present series, DNA amplification analysis showed a specificity of 97% and a sensitivity of only 50%. Conversely, fluorescence DNA evaluation, using the best cutoff of 25 ng, showed a sensitivity of about 76% and a specificity of 93%. Similar sensitivity was observed regardless of Dukes stage, tumor location, and size, thus also permitting the detection of early-stage tumors. The present study seems to indicate that quantitative fluorescence DNA determination in stool successfully identifies colorectal cancer patients with a sensitivity comparable, if not superior, to that of multiple gene analysis but at a lower cost and in a shorter time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics
  • DNA Primers / chemistry
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis*
  • Feces / chemistry*
  • Feces / cytology
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Genes, p53*
  • Genetic Testing / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Fluorescent Dyes