Evaluation of the CA 242 tumor antigen as a potential serum marker for colorectal cancer

Antonella Spila, Patrizia Ferroni, Maurizio Cosimelli, Roberta D'Alessandro, Maria Daniela Carone, Simona Aloe, Manfredo Tedesco, Raffaello Mancini, Vincenzo Casale, Sandro Carlini, Carlo Umberto Casciani, Mario Roselli, Fiorella Guadagni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The present study was designed to define the performance of serum CA 242 as a marker in colorectal cancer patients. Patients and methods: Serum samples from 1013 subjects (440 healthy volunteers, 384 patients with primary or recurrent colorectal carcinoma and 189 with benign colorectal diseases) were evaluated. Results: The measurement of serum CA 242 levels in the population of healthy subjects demonstrated the presence of positive levels in approximately 5% of the cases. Interestingly, similar results (5.8%) were obtained in patients with benign colorectal disease, demonstrating the high specificity of CA 242. When serum samples from colorectal cancer patients were analyzed, a sensitivity of 34.9% was observed. Moreover, 18.6% Stage A and B patients had positive CA 242 levels, compared to 33.3% and 58.8% of Stage C and D patients, respectively, indicating a correlation with the stage of disease. A comparison between preoperative and immediate postoperative CA 242 levels showed a consistent relationship between the efficacy of surgery and the reduction in serum CA 242 levels; further, elevated CA 242 levels were present in the immediate post-surgical follow-up of patients undergoing palliative surgery. A longitudinal evaluation of serum CA 242 levels demonstrated that this marker was indicative of the status of disease. Conclusions: The results obtained suggest the possible utility of CA 242 in monitoring the disease status, providing a rationale for future studies focusing on the longitudinal monitoring of colorectal cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1363-1368
Number of pages6
JournalAnticancer Research
Issue number2 B
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • CA 242
  • Clinical application
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Serum tumor markers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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