DNA content of rectal scrapings from individuals at low and high risk for the development of colorectal cancer: A feasibility study
Scrapings of superficial rectal mucosa were collected from 31 patients with colorectal carcinoma, 66 patients with sporadic adenoma, and 53 control subjects with no personal or family history of colorectal cancer. The DNA ploidy level and proliferative patterns of each specimen were analyzed by flow cytometry (FCM). A GMS index, calculated as the ratio of G2 + M:S, was found to be significantly lower in control subjects than in any of the high-risk groups studied. Aneuploidy was more prevalent in rectal scrapings from cancer patients and adenoma patients than in those from control subjects. Aneuploid cell populations were detected in apparently normal rectal scrapings from two control subjects. Some high-risk individuals (i.e., cancer patients and patients with adenomas and a family history of cancer) exhibited higher proportions of tetraploid (designated G2/M) cells and a higher G2/M:S phase ratio than control subjects. The results accumulated thus far show that the rectal scraping procedure is safe and easy to perform. Our limited findings give hope that the DNA content analysis of cells obtained by rectal scraping may eventually prove useful in mass screening for colorectal cancer risk. However, definitive evaluation will require further refinement and elaboration of analytic technique and testing on more patients at various levels of predetermined risk.