Methylated Septin 9 and Carcinoembryonic Antigen for Serological Diagnosis and Monitoring of Patients with Colorectal Cancer After Surgery

Sci Rep. 2019 Jul 17;9(1):10326. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-46876-4.


With the increasing incidence and mortality of colorectal cancer (CRC), early and accurate diagnosis is of paramount priority to combat this cancer. Epigenetic alterations such as DNA methylation are innovative biomarkers for CRC, due to their stability, frequency, and accessibility in bodily fluids. In this study, blood samples were prospectively collected from patients before and after operation for CRC for determination of methylated septin 9 (mSEPT9) and compared to carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA). The sensitivity of using mSEPT9 methylation status for diagnosing CRC was significantly higher than using elevated CEA levels (73.2% vs 48.2%; p value < 0.001). The sensitivities of both tests increased with higher tumor staging (P = 0.004 and 0.04 respectively). Combined mSEPT9 and CEA had higher accuracy than single CEA or mSEPT9 (P = 0.009 and 0.532 separately). An increase in the methylation level of mSEPT9 detected in the post-operative samples was associated with a higher mortality rate (15.2% vs 1.8%; P = 0.024) and the presence of metastasis (27.3% vs 7.0%; P = 0.013). mSEPT9 was more sensitive than CEA for diagnosing CRC, and combined mSEPT9 and CEA was more accurate. After curative resection, detection of increased mSEPT9 methylation level may indicate adverse outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't