Colorectal (CR) tumors are usually curable if detected before metastasis. Because genetic alterations are associated with the development of these tumors, mutant genes may be found in the stool of individuals with CR neoplasms. The stools of nine patients whose tumors contained mutations of K-ras were analyzed. In eight of the nine cases, the ras mutations were detectable in DNA purified from the stool. These patients included those with benign and malignant neoplasms from proximal and distal colonic epithelium. Thus, colorectal tumors can be detected by a noninvasive method based on the molecular pathogenesis of the disease.
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