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Acta Med Okayama. 2006 Oct;60(5):249-56.

Detection of fecal DNA methylation for colorectal neoplasia: does it lead to an optimal screening test?

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Department of Gastroenterological Surgery, Transplant and Surgical Oncology, Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama 700-8558, Japan.


Aberrant promoter methylation, an 'epigenetic' form of genomic instability that leads to transcriptional silencing of tumor suppressor genes, is increasingly being recognized as a crucial component in the evolution of human cancers. With our limited knowledge of the molecular basis and timing of the initiation of altered methylation events in the stepwise progression of cancers, the biggest challenge we currently face is to identify novel biomarkers and technologies for the timely screening of patients carrying such alterations. One such strategy would be to develop tests for the detection of fecal DNA methylation patterns that will improve the sensitivity of noninvasive screening tests for colorectal neoplasia, and moreover, will decrease both mortality and the incremental costs of treating colorectal cancers.

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