JC-H Kuo, AEK Ibrahim, S Dawson, D Parashar, WJ Howat, K Guttula, R Miller, NS Fearnhead, DJ Winton, AA Neves, KM Brindle
Colorectal cancer screening using conventional colonoscopy lacks molecular information and can miss dysplastic lesions. We tested here the ability of fluorescently labelled lectins to distinguish dysplasia from normal tissue when sprayed on to the luminal surface epithelium of freshly resected colon tissue from the Apc(min) mouse and when applied to fixed human colorectal tissue sections. Wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) showed significantly decreased binding to adenomas in the mouse tissue and in sections of human colon from 47 patients. Changes in WGA binding to the human surface epithelium allowed regions containing normal epithelium (NE) or hyperplastic polyps (HP) to be distinguished from regions containing low-grade dysplasia (LGD), high-grade dysplasia (HGD) or carcinoma (C), with 81% sensitivity, 87% specificity and 93% positive predictive value (PPV). Helix pomatia agglutinin (HGA) distinguished epithelial regions containing NE from regions containing HP, LGD, HGD or C, with 89% sensitivity, 87% specificity and 97% PPV. The decreased binding of WGA and HPA to the luminal surface epithelium in human dysplasia suggests that these lectins may enable more sensitive detection of disease in the clinic using fluorescence colonoscopy.