The enzyme cyclooxygenase-2 is expressed in a majority of colorectal carcinomas (CRCs) and is important in prostaglandin production. We have developed an accurate method to measure the urinary metabolite of prostaglandin E(2) (PGE-M) using recently developed mass spectrometric techniques. The purpose of this pre-validation study was to determine if urinary PGE-M levels can be used as a biomarker to discriminate between healthy patients and those with colorectal disease.