Squamous cell carcinoma antigen (SCC-Ag) during follow-up of cervical cancer patients: Role in the early diagnosis of recurrence

Michela Salvatici, Maria T Achilarre, Maria T Sandri, Sara Boveri, Vanna Zanagnolo, Fabio Landoni

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OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to assess the potential benefit of routine squamous cell carcinoma antigen (SCC-Ag) assessment during follow-up of patients after treatment for early cervical cancer with regard to early diagnosis of cancer recurrence before clinical signs and symptoms occur.

METHODS: All clinical, pathological, and serological data of patients referred to the Department of Gynecologic Oncology between July 1999 and June 2014, were retrospectively collected and analyzed. The SCC-Ag levels of 197 patients with diagnosis of stage I or II cervical squamous carcinoma, were performed.

RESULTS: In the univariate analysis, serum SCC-Ag was not significantly associated with grading (p=0.85), LVSI (p=0.95) and FIGO stage (p=0.83) but it was significantly associated with recurrence of disease (p<0.001). The Cox multivariate analyses showed that serum SCC-Ag level was an independent and statistically significant prognostic factor for OS and PFS. The median time interval between SCC-Ag test and diagnosis of recurrence were 0.3 and 1.8months for positive and negative SCC-Ag groups respectively (p=0.01). Considering patients with recurrence, no significant difference in terms of DFS and OS was found between women with high or low SCC-Ag levels.

CONCLUSIONS: Serum SCC-Ag reflects the response to treatment, and rising antigen levels often precede the clinical detection of recurrent disease, and may lead to early diagnosis. However such an advantage does not seem to improve the cure rate of patients with elevated SCC-Ag levels, most likely due to the lack of curative salvage treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-9
Number of pages5
JournalGynecologic Oncology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016


  • Journal Article


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