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The early diagnosis of colorectal cancer (CRC) is central for effective treatment, as prognosis is directly related to the stage of the disease. Development of tumor markers found in the blood from patients, which can detect CRC at an early stage, should have a major impact in morbidity and mortality of this disease. The nuclear matrix is the structural scaffolding of the nucleus and specific nuclear matrix proteins (NMPs) have been identified as an "fingerprint" for various cancer types. Previous studies from our laboratory have identified four colon cancer associated NMPs termed colon cancer-specific antigen (CCSA)-2 to (CCSA)-5. The objective of the present study was to analyze the expression of one of these proteins, CCSA-2 in serum from various patient populations and to determine whether CCSA-2 antibodies could be used in a clinically applicable serum-based immunoassay specifically to detect colon cancer. Using an indirect ELISA, which detects CCSA-2, the protein was measured in the serum from 174 individuals, including healthy individuals, patients with colon cancer, patients with diverticulosis, colon polyps, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) as well as other cancer types. With a predetermined cutoff absorbance of 0.6 OD we have successfully utilized this approach to develop an immunoassay that detected colon cancer. The immunoassay showed a sensitivity of 88.8% (24/27) and an overall specificity of 84.2% (106/127). This initial study showed the potential of CCSA-2 to serve as a highly specific blood based marker for colon cancer. Although potentially promising, the results of this study must be confirmed in larger independent validation studies.


Gisela Walgenbach-Brunagel, Bettina Burger, Eddy S Leman, Klaus-J Walgenbach, Rene Tolba, Lukas Heukamp, Andreas Hirner, Robert H Getzenberg. The use of a colon cancer associated nuclear antigen CCSA-2 for the blood based detection of colon cancer. Journal of cellular biochemistry. 2008 May 1;104(1):286-94

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PMID: 18044711

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