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J Craniomaxillofac Surg. 1998 Aug;26(4):243-8.

Relevance of SCC-Ag, CEA, CA 19.9 and CA 125 for diagnosis and follow-up in oral cancer.

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  • 1Klinik und Poliklinik für Mund-, Kiefer- und Gesichtschirurgie der Universität Tübingen, Germany.


The prognosis of oral cavity carcinoma is limited by recurrent disease or lymph node metastasis. Secondary to surgery and radiotherapy, anatomical structures are often severely changed and make early diagnosis of renewed tumour growth by clinical and radiological examination difficult. We studied the course of serum SCC-Ag, CEA, CA 19.9 and CA 125 in 121 patients with untreated squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) before and after therapy and evaluated their relevance for diagnosis and follow-up in oral cancer. CA 19.9 and CA 125 seemed to be useless for this tumour entity. CEA resembled more the alcohol consumption and smoking habits of the patients examined than their state of disease. Only SCC-Ag correlated with the tumour burden and represented the disease course. In the event of relapse, half the patients had an exponential increase in SCC-Ag, 1-2 months prior to diagnosis.

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