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Cancer. 1990 Aug 15;66(4):722-32.

Clinical and serologic markers of stage and prognosis in small cell lung cancer. A multivariate analysis.

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  • 1Research Unit of Replication Enzymology, Uppsala University, Sweden.


The respective pretreatment prognostic impacts of the following markers were evaluated in 125 patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC): lactic dehydrogenase (LDH), serum thymidine kinase (S-TK), carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), neuron-specific enolase (NSE), and tissue polypeptide antigen (TPA). More traditional clinical and serologic markers were also evaluated. Univariate analysis showed that all of the biochemical markers mentioned above, the Karnofsky index (KI) and the patient's sex were related to both the stage of disease (limited/extensive disease: LD/ED) and to survival. The strongest marker for the clinical stage was S-TK, whereas TPA showed the strongest relationship with survival. Multivariate analyses produced a model consisting of S-TK, CEA, NSE, and the patient's sex for determining the clinical stage. To compare the prognostic capacity of easily determined biochemical and simple clinical variables to the more resource-demanding variable of the clinical stage, three multivariate analyses in relation to survival were performed: (1) biochemical markers and simple clinical variables; (2) LD/ED and simple clinical variables; and (3) all available variables. The model obtained from the first analysis included TPA, KI, age, and the patient's sex; the model from the second analyses included LD/ED, patient's age, and KI; and the model from the third analysis, TPA, KI, age, sex, and LD/ED. Indices based on these three multivariate models were calculated for each patient and the prognostic capacity of these indices was compared. Pretreatment serum marker levels also had the capacity to predict both the grade and the duration of the response to therapy.

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