Longitudinal study of CA 19-9 and CEA in gastrointestinal cancer patients at different stages

C. Bartoloni, L. Guidi, R. Baroni, A. Tricerri, C. Barone, C. Garufi, G. Gambassi

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CA 19-9 and CEA were serially assayed in 42 patients with gastrointestinal cancer at different stages: no evidence of disease (6 gastric and 7 colon cancer) on clinical follow-up, localized (3 hepatocarcinomas) and advanced disease (15 colon, 8 gastric and 3 pancreatic cancers) during chemotherapy. Increased levels of CA 19-9 alone predicted relapses in 2/7 patients with gastrointestinal cancer, while CEA did so in 3/7 and both markers increased in one patient before recurrence. In patients with advanced disease, both markers showed a trend to rise in the months prior to progression of metastasis. CEA was able to monitor the progression of disease with a sensitivity of 67%, while CA 19-9 had a sensitivity of 58% (p <0.01). However, the combined use of the two markers appears to slightly improve the sensitivity both in the post-surgical and in the advanced disease group; by means of the simultaneous assay, some information was added in 2/7 (28.6%) of post-surgical patients without evidence of disease, and in 2/36 (5.5%) of subjects bearing advanced cancer of the gastrointestinal tract. A little help in the management of such patients could therefore be obtained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-362
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Tumor Marker Oncology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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