The prognostic significance of preoperative serum CA 19-9 in patients with resectable gastric carcinoma: comparison with CEA

J Surg Oncol. 2001 Apr;76(4):266-71. doi: 10.1002/jso.1044.


Background and objectives: In this study, the prognostic value of pre-operative serum levels of tumor markers CA 19-9 and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) in gastric carcinoma which has been a controversial matter was investigated.

Methods: Preoperative serum CA 19-9 (cut-off value 37 U/ml) and CEA (cut-off value 5 ng/ml) levels were measured in 168 patients with resectable gastric carcinoma. The correlation between tumor marker levels and clinicopathological features and overall survival was studied.

Results: CA 19-9 and CEA positivity rates were 31.5 and 17.8% respectively. In CA 19-9 positive patients, the ratio of males, tumors exceeding subserosa and advanced stage tumors (stages III and IV) was significantly higher (P = 0.052, P = 0.0005 and P= 0.029, respectively). A weak correlation was found with CA 19-9 positivity and tumor location; however, no correlation existed between CA 19-9 positivity and age, tumor size, histologic type, lymph node, hepatic and peritoneal metastasis. The proportion of tumors extending beyond subserosa and with lymph node metastasis was significantly higher in CEA positive patients (P = 0.011 and P = 0.045, respectively). No correlation was found between CEA positivity and gender, age, tumor location, tumor size, and hepatic and peritoneal metastasis; however, a weak correlation existed between CEA positivity and histologic type and tumor stage. Overall survival was significantly poorer in CA 19-9 and CEA positive patients (log-rank test, P = 0.014, P = 0.003, respectively). However, the Cox proportional hazards regression analysis did not show independent prognostic value for both tumor markers.

Conclusions: In resectable gastric carcinoma, preoperative serum CA 19-9 and CEA levels may indicate stage of the disease, but neither has an independent prognostic value.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • CA-19-9 Antigen / blood*
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Stomach Neoplasms / blood*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / pathology
  • Stomach Neoplasms / surgery*


  • CA-19-9 Antigen
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen