Serum cancer antigen CA 50 measurement is used to monitor pancreatic cancer and other gastrointestinal system cancers.
The MUC1 gene encodes for a high molecular weight glycoprotein found in specific tissues throughout the body. The product of the MUC1 gene has many varieties of carbohydrate chains and one of them is cancer (or carbohydrate) antigen 50 (CA 50), which is found in the bloodstream in certain types of cancers. CA 50 is elevated in the gastrointestinal system and bile duct cancers and appears to be a more sensitive indicator of disease progression than of monitoring possible relapse. Although studies have shown relatively high specificity and sensitivity of CA 50 when used for the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, the specificity is only high when combined with specific signs and symptoms of the disease. CA 50 is not widely used as an indicator for the evaluation of patients with gastrointestinal tumors because other indicators are more reliable.
Possible Interpretations of Pathological Values
- Increase: Gastrointestinal tumors, biliary duct tumors, cholangiocarcinoma, oral cancer, pancreatic cancer, transitional epithelial carcinoma, non-small cell lung cancer, benign extrahepatic jaundice, cirrhosis, cystic fibrosis.
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. The correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings, and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.