Preoperative serum levels of CA 72-4, CEA, CA 19-9, and alpha-fetoprotein in patients with gastric cancer

Rev Hosp Clin Fac Med Sao Paulo. May-Jun 2002;57(3):89-92. doi: 10.1590/s0041-87812002000300001.


Introduction: The clinical importance of preoperative serum levels of CA 72-4, carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), CA 19-9, and alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) was prospectively evaluated in 44 patients with gastric cancer.

Method: The serum tumor marker levels were determined by commercial radioimmunoassay kits. Positivity for CA 72-4 (>4 U/mL), CEA (>5 ng/mL), CA 19-9 (>37 U/mL), and AFP (>10 ng/mL) were correlated according to the stage, histology, and lymph node metastasis.

Results and discussion: CA 72-4 showed a higher positivity rate for gastric cancer (47.7%) than CEA (25%), CA 19-9 (25%), and AFP (0%). The combination of CA 72-4 with CEA and CA 19-9 increased the sensitivity to 61.4%. The positivity rates of CA 72-4 in patients at stages I and II (initial disease) and in patients at stages III and IV (advanced disease) were 9% and 60.6%, respectively (P < 0.005). No correlation was found between CEA and CA 19-9 levels and the stage of gastric cancer. There was a tendency of positivity for CA 72-4 to suggest lymph node involvement, but it was not significant (P = 0.075). Serum levels of tumor markers did not show a correlation with the histological types of gastric cancer.

Conclusion: Preoperative serum levels of CA 72-4 provided a predictive value in indicating advanced gastric cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Tumor-Associated, Carbohydrate / blood
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • CA-19-9 Antigen / blood
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen / blood
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Preoperative Care
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Stomach Neoplasms / blood*
  • alpha-Fetoproteins / analysis


  • Antigens, Tumor-Associated, Carbohydrate
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • CA-19-9 Antigen
  • CA-72-4 antigen
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen
  • alpha-Fetoproteins