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Ann Clin Biochem. 2013 Sep;50(Pt 5):438-42. doi: 10.1177/0004563213479942. Epub 2013 Jul 4.

The impact of local guidelines on the tumour marker requesting patterns of a General Surgery Department.

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  • 1Department of Medical Biochemistry and Immunology, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, UK.



The inappropriate use of tumour markers (TMs) is a common problem. The aim of this audit was to evaluate the impact of local guidelines on the TM requesting patterns of a General Surgery Department.


CA 125, CA 19-9, CA15-3, CEA, AFP and HCG requests from all hospital surgical locations were audited over two periods of eight months before and after the implementation of local requesting guidelines.


Postintervention, total TM requests decreased by 32% while patient requests decreased by 9.8%. Single TM requesting increased and requests for panels containing four or more TMs decreased from 279 to 60 requests (78% reduction).


Interdepartmental collaboration and the implementation of local guidelines have resulted in a change in requesting behaviour, most notably a reduction in multiple TM panel requests.


Tumour markers; analytes; laboratory management; laboratory methods

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