Saturday, December 17, 2011

CA 19-9-EUS Pancreatic Cancer Screening

Every time Jason gets a new appointment sheet from the oncologist, there is always "CA 19-9" written in the section of tests/things he'll have done.  I've always known that was a tumor marker test. Upon googling, I found out that the test also helps differentiate between pancreatitis and cancer as well.

Apparently, there is an ongoing debate as to whether or not the CA 19-9 test, coupled with an EUS (Endoscopic Ultrasound) is an effective way to screen for pancreatic cancer.

Taken from Gastro & Endo News:
“Screening for pancreatic cancer is a challenge,” Dr. Bhutani said. Studies using tumor markers have measured levels of tumor-associated glycoproteins, such as CA 19-9 and CA 242, or tumor isoenzymes, such as tumor M2 pyruvate kinase, and oncofetal antigens. Of these, CA 19-9 has been most extensively examined, but studies on its role as a screening tool for the general population have been discouraging, showing poor yield and low cost-effectiveness, except in symptomatic patients, Dr. Bhutani explained.
“With sensitivity and specificity of about 70% and 90%, respectively, CA 19-9 alone cannot be used as an effective serological screening test,” he said. “Almost 15% of pancreatic cancer patients do not have elevated CA 19-9 levels, and the marker can be elevated in other gastrointestinal malignancies and benign diseases, such as obstructive jaundice,” Dr. Bhutani noted.

You can read the full article here.

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