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Genetic Abnormalities Test Detects Intestinal Cancers

Last Updated: June 05, 2009.

A fluorescent technique to detect chromosomal abnormalities is more sensitive than routine cytology for the detection of suspected gastrointestinal cancer while maintaining a high specificity, according to a study in the June issue of Gastroenterology.

FRIDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- A fluorescent technique to detect chromosomal abnormalities is more sensitive than routine cytology for the detection of suspected gastrointestinal cancer while maintaining a high specificity, according to a study in the June issue of Gastroenterology.

Emily G. Barr Fritcher and colleagues from the Mayo Clinic and Foundation in Rochester, Minn., compared routine cytology, digital image analysis, and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) on endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography brushings from 498 patients with pancreatobiliary strictures.

The researchers found that polysomy FISH was significantly more sensitive than routine cytology (44.5 versus 20.5 percent) when equivocal cytology was considered negative, while maintaining a specificity of 99.6 percent. There was a significant difference in the time to a definite diagnosis of carcinoma between FISH diagnostic categories (negative, trisomy, tetrasomy, and polysomy) and between routine cytology categories (negative, atypical, suspicious, and positive). Suspicious cytology, polysomy and trisomy FISH, age, and primary sclerosing cholangitis status were significantly associated with carcinoma and could be used to estimate the probability of carcinoma, the authors note.

"Polysomy FISH had high sensitivity without compromise to specificity," Fritcher and colleagues conclude. "We recommend including FISH as a routine test where available, along with routine cytology, in the evaluation of indeterminate pancreatobiliary strictures."

One of the authors holds a patent and receives royalties from the FISH probe set (UroVysion, from Abbott Molecular Inc.) used in the study.

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