AIM: To present a critical discussion of the efficacy of the faecal pyruvate kinase isoenzyme type M2 (faecal M2-PK) test for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening based on the currently available studies.
METHODS: A literature search in PubMed and Embase was conducted using the following search terms: fecal Tumor M2-PK, faecal Tumour M2-PK, fecal M2-PK, faecal M2-PK, fecal pyruvate kinase, faecal pyruvate kinase, pyruvate kinase stool and M2-PK stool.
RESULTS: Stool samples from 704 patients with CRC and from 11 412 healthy subjects have been investigated for faecal M2-PK concentrations in seventeen independent studies. The mean faecal M2-PK sensitivity was 80.3%; the specificity was 95.2%. Four studies compared faecal M2-PK head-to-head with guaiac-based faecal occult blood test (gFOBT). Faecal M2-PK demonstrated a sensitivity of 81.1%, whereas the gFOBT detected only 36.9% of the CRCs. Eight independent studies investigated the sensitivity of faecal M2-PK for adenoma (n = 554), with the following sensitivities: adenoma < 1 cm in diameter: 25%; adenoma > 1 cm: 44%; adenoma of unspecified diameter: 51%. In a direct comparison with gFOBT of adenoma > 1 cm in diameter, 47% tested positive with the faecal M2-PK test, whereas the gFOBT detected only 27%.
CONCLUSION: We recommend faecal M2-PK as a routine test for CRC screening. Faecal M2-PK closes a gap in clinical practice because it detects bleeding and non-bleeding tumors and adenoma with high sensitivity and specificity.