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Hepatogastroenterology. 2003 Sep-Oct;50(53):1669-74.

Comparison of tumor marker CA 242 with CA 19-9 and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) in pancreatic cancer.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Ankara University School of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey.



Although there are a variety of tumor markers used for diagnosis of pancreatic carcinoma, the sensitivity and specificity of those markers have not yet reached an ideal level. The aim of this study was to compare the diagnostic value of CA 242 with CA 19-9 and CEA in the patients with pancreatic cancer.


Serum CA 242, CA 19-9 and CEA levels were determined in 135 subjects in the following groups: Pancreatic cancer (n = 40), cholangiocellular carcinoma (n = 15), hepatocellular carcinoma (n = 10), cirrhosis (n = 7), chronic active hepatitis (n = 7), choledochal stone (n = 12), chronic pancreatitis (n = 9), acute pancreatitis (n = 6), and healthy controls (n = 29).


An elevated serum CA 242 concentration (> 20 U/mL) was found in 30 out of 40 (70%) (mean; 2163 +/- 838 U/mL) patients with pancreas cancer, in 11 out of 15 patients with cholangiocellular carcinoma (93.3%) (mean 916 +/- 529 U/mL), in none of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma and healthy controls. Slightly elevated CA 242 concentration was found in 6 out of 41 patients with benign hepatobiliary and pancreatic disease (range 0.4-97.8 U/mL) (1 acute pancreatitis, 2 chronic pancreatitis, 1 cirrhosis, 2 choledochal stone). Mean serum CA 242, CA 19-9 and CEA levels of the pancreas cancer group were significantly higher than those of the other groups except the cholangiocellular carcinoma group. There was no significant difference between the stage of pancreas cancer regarding mean serum CA 242, CA 19-9 and CEA level. There was positive correlation between serum CA 242 and CA 19-9 level. In the pancreas cancer, the sensitivity of CA 242, CA 19-9 and CEA was 75%, 80%, 40%, respectively and the specificity of those markers was 85.5%, 67.5% and 73%, respectively.


In conclusion, the advantage of CA 242 compared to CA 19-9 is that its specificity is higher than that of CA 19-9 in the diagnosis of pancreas cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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