Prospective multicenter evaluation of fecal tumor pyruvate kinase type M2 (M2-PK) as a screening biomarker for colorectal neoplasia

Int J Cancer. 2006 Dec 1;119(11):2651-6. doi: 10.1002/ijc.22243.


Proliferating cells, particularly the tumor cells, express a dimeric isoenzyme of pyruvate kinase, termed M2-PK. It's a direct target of several oncoproteins; the determination of fecal tumor pyruvate kinase type M2 (M2-PK) might be another promising tool for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening. In this study, we have evaluated fecal M2-PK as a screening biomarker for colorectal neoplasia. It was compared against fecal occult blood (FOB) and colonoscopy. Three hundred and seventeen consecutive subjects from 4 different centers were included. Stool specimens were collected before purgation, processed appropriately and were tested for FOB and quantitatively analyzed for M2-PK. Colonoscopies were performed by experienced endoscopists who were unaware of fecal assay results. At cutoff value of 4 U/ml, fecal M2-PK assay had a sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV of 81.1, 86.7, 71.1 and 61.9% respectively for diagnosing CRC whereas FOBT showed a sensitivity of 36.5%, specificity of 92.2%, PPV of 72.9% and NPV of 71.5% for CRC. Such low specificity of fecal M2-PK will lead to unacceptably high number of false positives if it is used for mass CRC screening, leading to unindicated colonoscopies with its associated inconveniences, risks and costs. CRC screening test must have high specificity; a high sensitivity is not as vital. To conclude, M2-PK was found to be a poor screening biomarker for CR neoplasia in a subject population at above average risk based on its prospective comparison with colonoscopy. These marginal performance characteristics do not permit its use as a screening tool for CR neoplasia in present clinical settings.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Feces / enzymology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pyruvate Kinase / metabolism*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Pyruvate Kinase