Common intestinal bacteria found to be useful in early cancer screening

Local medical specialists have found that a bacterium in the intestinal channel of humans is closely related with colorectal cancer and can be used for early cancer screening.

Local medical specialists have found that a bacterium in the intestinal channel of humans is closely related with colorectal cancer and can be used as a biomarker for early cancer screening, doctors told the International Conference of Gastroenterology in Shanghai on Friday.

The bacterium, clostridium symbiosum, was found to be at a high level in patients with colorectal cancer through multi-center research, doctors from Shanghai’s Renji Hospital announced.

“We tested the level of this bacterium in patients with colorectal cancer, gastric cancer and other intestinal diseases and found only those with colorectal cancer have very high levels,” Dr Fang Jingyuan, vice president of Renji Hospital said. “We are the first to make this discovery and it was published by world leading medical journals and has aroused the attention of international counterparts.”

Fang said they found checking levels of the bacteria is more sensitive and accurate than the current fecal occult blood test as an early screening for colorectal cancer. “Some patients with colorectal cancer don’t bleed, and someone’s stool blood may not necessarily come from colorectal cancer.”

Fang said the hospital has applied and received intellectual property rights for the discovery and is working on the development of a test kit for fecal clostridium symbiosum as a non-invasive screening measure for early colorectal cancer.

“The use of both fecal clostridium symbiosum and occult blood can greatly improve the efficiency and accuracy of colorectal cancer detection,” he said. “The new test kit is expected to be put into clinical use in three years.”

Colorectal cancer is one of the leading cancers in the city.


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