Recent research has suggested that serum tumor markers can give valuable prognostic information in gastric cancer. In this study, we examined the relationship between preoperative serum carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), carbohydrate antigen (CA) 19-9, CA 72-4, and alfa fetoprotein (AFP) levels on clinicopathologic significance in gastric cancer patients.
Preoperative plasma levels of CEA, CA 19-9, CA 72-4, and AFP were retrospectively examined in 95 patients who underwent surgical resection for gastric cancer, and the prognostic value of the tumour markers were estimated.
The percentage of CA 19-9, CA 72-4, CEA, and AFP-positive cases were 41%, 32.6%, 24.2%, and 8.4%, respectively. CEA was more frequently positive in the patients with liver metastases (P=0.02). CA 19-9 was more frequently positive in patients with lymph node (P=0.005), peritoneal (P=0.01), and serosal (P=0.03) involvement. CA 72-4 was more frequently positive in patients with lymph node (P=0.01), peritoneal (P=0.03), and liver (P=0.01) involvement. Low 3-year cumulative survival was associated significantly with elevated serum levels of CEA (P=0.001), CA 19-9 (P=0.001), CA 72-4 (P=0.001), and AFP (P=0.01). In multivariate analysis, age, tumor stage, and CA 72-4 were the only independent prognostic factors. Being positive for CA 72-4 was associated with a 3.8-fold higher risk of death (95% confidence intervals: 1.3, 10.9).
Our results suggest that high preoperative serum levels of CA 72-4 in gastric cancer patients are associated with a higher risk of death due to gastric cancer.