Background: Methylated Septin 9 (mSEPT9) in plasma has recently been suggested as a screening marker for colorectal cancer (CRC) with variable sensitivity. We aimed to determine the usefulness of plasma mSEPT9 for screening CRC and gastric cancer (GC) and its diagnostic role in postoperative CRC patients.
Methods: A total of 350 peripheral blood samples from 101 CRC patients, 153 GC patients, and 96 healthy persons were collected. In addition, we obtained 35 follow-up blood samples from 27 CRC patients after curative radical surgery. Plasma mSEPT9, serum carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), and serum CA19-9 were evaluated with clinicopathologic features.
Results: The sensitivity of plasma mSEPT9 was 36.6% for detecting CRC and 17.7% for detecting GC, and the specificity was 90.6%. During follow-up periods, mSEPT9 showed negative conversion in eight of nine CRC patients (88.9%) whose plasma mSEPT9 had been positive before radical surgery. The patients with plasma mSEPT9 had a tendency of presence of distant metastasis and lower disease-free survival in both CRC and GC. In GC patients, plasma mSEPT9 was more frequently observed in intestinal (23.5%) and mixed type (40.0%) than diffuse type (7.3%; P =.009). Combined analysis of mSEPT9, CEA, and CA19-9 increased the sensitivity for diagnosing GC to 32.7% (P = .002).
Conclusion: Considering the high incidence of plasma mSEPT9 in intestinal or mixed type GCs similar to CRCs, GC should be examined through the plasma mSEPT9 screening test. In addition, plasma mSEPT9 is proposed as a follow-up marker in CRC patients, but further validation is required.