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Br J Cancer. 2010 Mar 2;102(5):916-21. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6605564. Epub 2010 Feb 9.

Factors that contribute to faecal cyclooxygenase-2 mRNA expression in subjects with colorectal cancer.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Diagnosis, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, 1-20-1 Handayama, Higashi-ku, Hamamatsu, Japan.



We previously reported that a faecal cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) mRNA assay was useful for identifying colorectal cancer (CRC). This study sought to investigate the factors that contribute to faecal COX-2 mRNA expression in subjects with CRC.


The study cohort comprised 78 patients with CRC and 36 control subjects. The expressions of COX-2, beta-2-microglobulin (B2M), carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), E-cadherin (E-cad), and CD45 mRNA in faeces and COX-2 mRNA expression in tissue were determined by quantitative real-time RT-PCR.


The level of faecal expression of COX-2 mRNA in CRC was significantly higher than that in controls. A significant correlation was found between faecal COX-2 mRNA expression and faecal B2M, CEA, E-cad, or CD45 mRNAs, markers of exfoliated total cells, colonocytes, and leukocytes, respectively. A significant correlation was found between the expression of COX-2 mRNA in faeces and tumour surface area, COX-2 mRNA expression in primary tumour. There was no difference in faecal COX-2 mRNA expression between proximal CRC and distal CRC.


COX-2 mRNA expression in faeces seems to originate from tumour lesion and to be affected by factors such as the number of exfoliated cells, exfoliation of inflammatory cells, COX-2 mRNA expression in tumour, and tumour size.

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