AIMS--To determine if there was an increase in antibody titre to Streptococcus bovis in patients with colonic cancer, and if this might be a useful marker of the presence for colonic cancer. METHODS--Serum samples from 16 patients and 16 age matched controls were tested by immunoblot and enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) against antigen preparations from two strains of S bovis and one strain of Enterococcus faecalis. RESULTS--No distinction between cancer patients and controls could be made using immunoblots. ELISA did show an increase in antibodies to S bovis, but there was a greater increase in antibodies to E faecalis. The increase in antibody titres was greatest with antigens which had been treated with periodate, and was therefore thought not to be caused by antibody to the shared group D carbohydrate antigen. CONCLUSION--It may be possible to construct a test for the detection of colonic cancer based on the detection of antibody to S bovis or E faecalis, though considerable further development of this concept is required.
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