Noninvasive urinary protein signatures associated with colorectal cancer diagnosis and metastasis

Nat Commun. 2022 May 19;13(1):2757. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-30391-8.


Currently, imaging, fecal immunochemical tests (FITs) and serum carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) tests are not adequate for the early detection and evaluation of metastasis and recurrence in colorectal cancer (CRC). To comprehensively identify and validate more accurate noninvasive biomarkers in urine, we implement a staged discovery-verification-validation pipeline in 657 urine and 993 tissue samples from healthy controls and CRC patients with a distinct metastatic risk. The generated diagnostic signature combined with the FIT test reveals a significantly increased sensitivity (+21.2% in the training set, +43.7% in the validation set) compared to FIT alone. Moreover, the generated metastatic signature for risk stratification correctly predicts over 50% of CEA-negative metastatic patients. The tissue validation shows that elevated urinary protein biomarkers reflect their alterations in tissue. Here, we show promising urinary protein signatures and provide potential interventional targets to reliably detect CRC, although further multi-center external validation is needed to generalize the findings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Early Detection of Cancer* / methods
  • Humans


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen