Tumor markers used in the diagnosis and follow-up of patients with neuroendocrine tumors are in most instances not specific for a given tumor and circulate under normal conditions in the serum, making their use as an early diagnostic tool difficult (low sensitivity). By combining hormone measurements with tissue responsiveness, demonstrations of inappropriate secretions of PTH, insulin, and gastrin during hypercalcemia, hypoglycemia, and hyperacidity, respectively, become highly sensitive and specific diagnostic tests. The application of polyclonal antibodies in RIAs of hormones, such as ACTH, insulin, and gastrin, increase the diagnostic level of hormone measurements in patients with neuroendocrine tumors. Other markers, such as chromogranin A, neuron-specific enolase, and alpha-subunit, as well as peptide receptor visualization, are of increasing importance in the diagnosis and follow-up of neuroendocrine and non-neuroendocrine tumors.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.