Objectives: The immunological fecal occult blood test (IFOBT) has established itself as a more precise marker for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening than traditional guaiac-based FOBT. The simpler, cheaper, and more convenient newer office-based IFOBTs have been validated for diagnosing CRC. Dimeric isoenzyme of pyruvate kinase, M2-PK, expressed by tumor cells, has as well been proposed as a screening tool for CRC. This is the first study comparing fecal M2-PK as a screening biomarker for CRC against previously evaluated office-based IFOBT and colonoscopy.
Methods: Six hundred forty consecutive subjects (symptomatic, as well as for CRC screening) referred for colonoscopy for various indications across five centers in Germany provided the stool samples for performing M2-PK and an immunochemical FOB strip test. The IFOBT used was a rapid immunochromatographic assay for detection of fecal hemoglobin. For M2-PK, a commercially available sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used. The M2-PK test needs 6 h, while the office-based test can be read in just 10 min and is five times cheaper.
Results: Office-based IFOBT had sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), negative predictive value (NPV), and positive and negative likelihood ratios (LR) of 64.5, 96.3, 72.0, 94.9, 17.5, and 0.4 for diagnosing colorectal neoplasia (CRN), while the above performance characteristics for M2-PK at a cutoff value of 4 U/mL were 72.4, 73.8, 29.0, 94.8, 2.8, and 0.8 respectively.
Conclusions: This office-based IFOBT was found to have significantly higher specificity, PPV, and positive LR as compared with M2-PK. IFOBT proved to be a convenient, noncumbersome, quick, and cheap tool in patients with above-average risk for detection of CRN.