Immunodiscrimination of colorectal neoplasia using MUC1 antibodies: Discrepant findings in tissue versus stool

Paul J. Limburg, David A. Ahlquist, Jorge A. Gilbert, Jonathan J. Harrington, George G. Klee, Patrick C. Roche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Colorectal tumor-associated antigens are attractive targets for novel stool-screening assays. MUC1, a glycoprotein antigen, is aberrantly expressed in transformed colorectal mucosa and represents a candidate fecal biomarker. In this study, tissue staining and stool testing were performed to further clarify the discriminant potential of MUC1 in markedly different biologic media. One anti-MUC1 monoclonal antibody (MA5) was used for immunohistochemistry and two commercially available MUC1 assay kits (ELSA-CA 15-3 and Truquant BR) were used for stool detection. On tissue staining, MUC1 expression was strong in 40/40 (100%) adenocarcinomas, moderate in 42/55 (76%) adenomas, faint in 8/28 (29%) juxtatumoral mucosa specimens, and absent in 15/15 (0%) nonadjacent mucosa specimens. Conversely MUC1 levels in stool testing did not differ between colorectal cancer cases (N = 14) and controls (N = 14). Based on these results, MUC1 appears to be a functional tumor biomarker in colorectal tissue but not in stool. Bacterial metabolism within stool may unmask the core antigen of MUC1 and account for this discordance in immunoreactivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)494-499
Number of pages6
JournalDigestive diseases and sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000


  • Colorectal neoplasms
  • MUC1
  • Mucins
  • Stool tests

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology


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