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Eur J Cancer. 2001 Feb;37(3):355-63.

CA27.29: a valuable marker for breast cancer management. A confirmatory multicentric study on 603 cases.

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Center for the Study of Biological Markers of Malignancy, General Regional Hospital, ULSS 12, Venice, Italy.


Recently, a fully automated method has become commercially available to measure the MUC-1-associated antigen CA27.29. The present investigation was performed in order to compare CA27.29 and CA15.3 in a wide series of patients affected with breast cancer. Overall, 603 cases with breast cancer and 194 healthy controls were investigated. Patients were enrolled in 4 institutions, while assays were performed in one laboratory. CA27.29 was measured by the ACS:180 BR assay (Bayer Diagnostics) and CA15.3 by the AxSYM (Abbott Laboratories). An excellent correlation was found between the results obtained by the two methods. The two markers showed comparable results in healthy controls, with higher levels in post-menopausal than in pre-menopausal subjects. The markers were significantly higher in primary breast cancer than in controls. The areas under the receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curves of the two tests were comparable, but CA27.29 showed better sensitivity in cases with low antigen concentrations (below the cut-off point). Accordingly, when comparing each test in different stage categories, significance levels of the differences were higher for CA27.29 than for CA15.3 for all T categories versus healthy controls, for pT1 versus pT2, for all N categories versus healthy controls and for node-negative versus N1-3 patients. From the results of the present study, that has been performed on samples taken at diagnosis and prior to any treatment from the widest series of patients with primary breast cancer reported so far, we can draw the following conclusions: CA27.29 provides comparable results to CA15.3; CA27.29 seems more sensitive than CA15.3 to limited variations of tumour extension; however, it cannot help clinicians in distinguishing stage I patients from stage II patients. However, from the point of view of clinical decision making, CA27.29 provides comparable results to CA15.3. CA27.29 is therefore suitable for routine use in the management of patients with breast cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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