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Rev Hosp Clin Fac Med Sao Paulo. 2002 May-Jun;57(3):89-92.

Preoperative serum levels of CA 72-4, CEA, CA 19-9, and alpha-fetoprotein in patients with gastric cancer.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Hospital das Clínicas, Faculty of Medicine, University of São Paulo.



The clinical importance of preoperative serum levels of CA 72-4, carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), CA 19-9, and alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) was prospectively evaluated in 44 patients with gastric cancer.


The serum tumor marker levels were determined by commercial radioimmunoassay kits. Positivity for CA 72-4 (>4 U/mL), CEA (>5 ng/mL), CA 19-9 (>37 U/mL), and AFP (>10 ng/mL) were correlated according to the stage, histology, and lymph node metastasis.


CA 72-4 showed a higher positivity rate for gastric cancer (47.7%) than CEA (25%), CA 19-9 (25%), and AFP (0%). The combination of CA 72-4 with CEA and CA 19-9 increased the sensitivity to 61.4%. The positivity rates of CA 72-4 in patients at stages I and II (initial disease) and in patients at stages III and IV (advanced disease) were 9% and 60.6%, respectively (P < 0.005). No correlation was found between CEA and CA 19-9 levels and the stage of gastric cancer. There was a tendency of positivity for CA 72-4 to suggest lymph node involvement, but it was not significant (P = 0.075). Serum levels of tumor markers did not show a correlation with the histological types of gastric cancer.


Preoperative serum levels of CA 72-4 provided a predictive value in indicating advanced gastric cancer.

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