Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 184343, 15 pages
Review Article

Fecal Molecular Markers for Colorectal Cancer Screening

1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Royal University Hospital, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 0W8
2Department of Surgery, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 0W8

Received 16 August 2011; Accepted 26 September 2011

Academic Editor: Cesare Hassan

Copyright © 2012 Rani Kanthan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Despite multiple screening techniques, including colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, radiological imaging, and fecal occult blood testing, colorectal cancer remains a leading cause of death. As these techniques improve, their sensitivity to detect malignant lesions is increasing; however, detection of precursor lesions remains problematic and has generated a lack of general acceptance for their widespread usage. Early detection by an accurate, noninvasive, cost-effective, simple-to-use screening technique is central to decreasing the incidence and mortality of this disease. Recent advances in the development of molecular markers in faecal specimens are encouraging for its use as a screening tool. Genetic mutations and epigenetic alterations that result from the carcinogenetic process can be detected by coprocytobiology in the colonocytes exfoliated from the lesion into the fecal matter. These markers have shown promising sensitivity and specificity in the detection of both malignant and premalignant lesions and are gaining popularity as a noninvasive technique that is representative of the entire colon. In this paper, we summarize the genetic and epigenetic fecal molecular markers that have been identified as potential targets in the screening of colorectal cancer.