Research Papers:

Use of integrin alpha 6 transcripts in a stool mRNA assay for the detection of colorectal cancers at curable stages

Jean-François Beaulieu _, Elizabeth Herring, Shigeru Kanaoka and Éric Tremblay

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:14684-14692. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.7407

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Jean-François Beaulieu1, Elizabeth Herring1, Shigeru Kanaoka2, Éric Tremblay1

1Laboratory of Intestinal Physiopathology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada

2Department of Gastroenterology, Hamamatsu Medical Center, Hamamatsu, Japan

Correspondence to:

Jean-François Beaulieu, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: colorectal cancer, adenomas, non-invasive screening, biomarker, mRNA

Received: December 17, 2015    Accepted: January 30, 2016    Published: February 15, 2016


Objective: An important criterion for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening is the ability to detect lesions at a curable stage. In the present study, we have assessed the integrin α6 subunit transcript (ITGA6) as part of a stool assay for the detection of colorectal lesions.

Results: In comparison with control samples, ITGA6 levels were found to be significantly increased at all stages (P < 0.01). Receiver operating characteristic analysis revealed areas under the curve of 0.89 for the prediction of CRC with 81% sensitivity and 88% specificity and of 0.90 for the prediction of advanced adenomas (Ad) with 75% sensitivity and 88% specificity. The ITGA6A variant was also found to be increased relative to ITGA6 in stage II and III CRCs. Combining ITGA6 with other selected transcripts and/or immunochemical fecal occult blood test (iFOBT) results further increased sensitivity and specificity for the detection of colorectal lesions.

Patients and Methods: ITGA6 detection used alone and under various combinations including detection of other mRNA markers and iFOBT was assessed on stool samples obtained from 175 patients (91 CRCs, 24 Ad and 60 healthy controls).

Conclusions: These data confirm the usefulness and reliability of an mRNA stool assay for the detection of colorectal lesions. The validation of additional candidate genes and their analysis in multiplex qPCR represents a powerful and robust approach that can be combined with iFOBT results to improve the detection of colorectal lesions.

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