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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The value of CEA and CA 19-9 in detecting cancer in a group of high-risk subjects with gastrointestinal symptoms.

The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical value of CEA and CA 19-9 in a potential high-risk population of subjects with gastrointestinal complaints. The basic question was whether the determination of these markers, in addition to some other clinical features in this high risk population, could be helpful in diagnosing intraabdominal cancer. Two hundred and two patients with gastrointestinal complaints underwent standard diagnostic procedures and were followed for at least one year. For every patient, CEA and CA 19-9 levels were obtained at the first examination; the evaluating physician was blinded to the marker levels. The determinants of the likelihood of cancer were evaluated by multivariate analysis. Seventeen patients were diagnosed as having intraabdominal cancers. With the presence of melena (RR = 101.63, p = 0.007), nonspecific gastrointestinal symptoms (RR = 12.54, p = 0.026), increasing age (RR = 1.09, p = 0.028) and abnormal CEA (RR = 240.79, p = 0.000), the risk of having cancer increased significantly and independently. The presence of a primary gastric complaint was associated with a lower risk of cancer in this cohort (RR = 0.01, p = 0.04). Markers were not used in the diagnostic workup. In conclusion, in patients presenting with gastrointestinal complaints, the finding of elevated CEA levels may help in the diagnosis of cancer by prompting a more extensive search for intraabdominal cancer.[1]


  1. The value of CEA and CA 19-9 in detecting cancer in a group of high-risk subjects with gastrointestinal symptoms. Coban, E., Samur, M., Bozcuk, H., Ozdogan, M. Int. J. Biol. Markers (2003) [Pubmed]
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