Published online Mar 25, 1996. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v2.i1.16
Revised: May 8, 1995
Accepted: September 21, 1995
Published online: March 25, 1996
AIM: Cancer antigen 50 (CA50) and Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) are well-described human tumor-associated antigens, utilized clinically in management of gastrointestinal cancer cases. In this study, we compared these markers in sera from patients with malignant and benign digestive tract diseases.
METHODS: Using a side-phase radioimmunoassay, CA50 and CEA serum levels were measured in 33 control subjects and 86 patients with either gastric cancer (n = 34), gastric ulcer (n = 27) or chronic atrophic gastritis (n = 25). Carcinoma of the stomach was found in the antrum (n = 22), the body (n = 3) and the fundus (n = 9), and according to histopathological findings was divided into adenocarcinoma (n = 21), squamous cancer (n = 4) and undetermined (n = 9). Gastric ulcer, when present, appeared in the antrum (n = 18), the body (n = 3) and the fundus (n = 9). Chronicatrophic Gastritis cases were all associated with intestinal metaplasia.
RESULTS: The normal ranges established for CA50 and CEA in the control group were 16.26-6.14 kU/L and 3.12-1.03 μg/L respectively. In patients with gastric cancer, serum levels of CA50 (112.67 ± 38.36 kU/L) and CEA (10.28 ± 3.76 μg/L) were elevated significantly (P < 0.01), the former being < 22 kU/L in 18 of 34 patients (53%; range: 5-550 kU/L) and the latter being < 5 μg/L in 19 of 34 patients (55.8%; range: 0.5-17.4 μg/L). A statistically significant correlation was found between the levels of CA50 and CEA (r = 0.648, P < 0.01). The serum levels of CA50 (46.4 kU/L vs 25.9 kU/L, P < 0.01) and CEA (6.85 μg/L vs 2.43 μg/L, P < 0.01) were much lower in patients with gastric ulcer or chronic atrophic gastritis (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: CA50 and CEA are indicators for advanced gastric cancer, and postoperatively their serum levels may decrease considerably. Overall, there is such a close correlation between these two factors that in clinical practice they might be of great value for the diagnosis of gastric cancer.