• Cancer

    Advanced Home Stool Test Finds Colorectal Cancer’s DNA

Mayo Clinic research results presented in NEJM could change colorectal screening practice

A clinical trial of Cologuard shows unprecedented results for finding colorectal cancer with a noninvasive test. “Cologuard detection rates of early stage cancer and high-risk precancerous polyps validated in this large study were outstanding and have not been achieved by other noninvasive approaches,” says the study’s author David Ahlquist M.D., a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist and co-inventor of the Cologuard test.

Colorectal cancer has become the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, but it is highly treatable if found early. Cologuard uses a self-contained collection kit that allows patients to send stool samples to a high-tech lab for screening.

Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Ahlquist, animation and b-roll of the Cologuard test kit are available in the downloads.

Sound Bite - HOW IT WORKS (Dr. David Ahlquist/Mayo Clinic Gastroenterologist) "Polyps and cancer, both lesions, continuously shed cells that end up in the stool. The Cologuard test can recover cancer or polyp-related DNA in those exfoliated cells and determine whether there’s the presence, or absence, of the right signature of a target lesion."  [TRT :27]


Dr. Ahlquist says the detection rates are similar to those reported for colonoscopy.

Sound Bite - RESULTS SIMILAR TO COLONOSCOPY (Dr. David Ahlquist/Mayo Clinic Gastroenterologist) "If one compares the results that we saw with Cologuard, for example the 94 percent detection rate for the earliest stage cancers, that would compare very  well with the reported detection rates for colonoscopy, which are in the 92 percent to 96percent range based on the most recent follow up studies.”  [TRT :24]

The study was conducted at 90 medical centers throughout the United State and Canada and included 10,000 patients. Because of its accessibility and ease of use, researchers hope Cologuard will increase the number of people who will choose to be screened for colorectal cancer. Nearly 50 percent of adults age 50 and older have not been screened as recommended.

Sound Bite - EASY TEST (Dr. David Ahlquist/Mayo Clinic Gastroenterologist) ”It’s a simple test for the patient to do. There’s no prep, it can be done from home and simply mailed in to the laboratory. The result then is given to the patient’s provider and if the test is abnormal, then colonoscopy is indicated.”  [TRT :17]

The results are published in the March 20 issue of the The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). Cologuard was co-developed by Mayo Clinic and Exact Sciences. The company is in the process of seeking approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the use of Cologuard for colorectal cancer screening.

To read the full news release click here.

Brian Kilen, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, newsbureau@mayo.edu

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