The stool DNA test is safe and poses no risks.
Limitations of the test may include:
Aug. 13, 2014
A stool DNA test could lead to additional testing. If your stool DNA test shows DNA changes that are associated with colon polyps or colon cancer, you'll likely undergo additional testing to find the source.
Your doctor would likely recommend colonoscopy, which includes removal of polyps or biopsy procedures to remove tissue samples for testing. If you undergo these additional tests, but it's determined that you don't have cancer, you could be exposed to additional risks for no reason.
- A stool DNA test can't detect all cancers. It's possible that colon cancer or precancerous polyps could go undetected during a stool DNA test. This might occur due to a technical error or to insufficient quantity of your stool sample.
- Imperiale TF, et al. Multitarget stool DNA testing for colorectal cancer screening. The New England Journal of Medicine. 2014;370:1287.
- Ahlquist DA, et al. Next generation stool DNA test accurately detects colorectal cancer and large adenomas. Gastroenterology. 2012;142:248.
- Heigh RI, et al. Detection of colorectal serrated polyps by stool DNA testing: Comparison with fecal immunochemical testing for occult blood (FIT). PLOS One. 2014;9:e85659. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0085659. Accessed March 18, 2014.
- Ahlquist DA, et al. The stool DNA test is more accurate than the plasma septin 9 test in detecting colorectal neoplasia. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2012;10:272.
- Fecal DNA testing in screening for colorectal cancer in average-risk adults. Rockville, Md.: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. http://effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/index.cfm/search-for-guides-reviews-and-reports/?pageaction=displayproduct&productid=988. Accessed March 18, 2014.
- Fletcher RH. Tests for screening for colorectal cancer: Stool tests, radiologic imaging and endoscopy. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 18, 2014.
- Berger BM, et al. Stool DNA screening for colorectal neoplasia: Biological and technical bases for high detection rates. Pathology. 2012;44:80.
- Ahlquist DA, et al. Aberrantly methylated gene marker levels in stool: Effects of demographic, exposure, body mass, and other patient characteristics. Journal of Molecular Biomarkers & Diagnosis. 2012;3:e1. http://omicsonline.org/aberrantly-methylated-gene-marker-levels-in-stool-effects-of-demographic-exposure-body-mass-and-other-patient-characteristics-2155-9929.1000133.php?aid=8381. Accessed June 9, 2014.
- Lidgard GP, et al. Clinical performance of an automated stool DNA assay for detection of colorectal neoplasia. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2013;11:1313.
- Transcript: March 27, 2014. FDA Molecular and Clinical Genetics Panel. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/CommitteesMeetingMaterials/MedicalDevices/MedicalDevicesAdvisoryCommittee/MolecularandClinicalGeneticsPanel/ucm390219.htm. Accessed June 9, 2014.
- FDA approves first non-invasive DNA screening test for colorectal cancer. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm409021.htm. Accessed Aug. 11, 2014.