[Diagnostic value of biochemical tumor markers in brain tumors. Review of the literature and own experience with serum analysis of sialic acid (NANA), carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and neuron-specific enolase (NSE)]

Zentralbl Neurochir. 1990;51(3):129-37.
[Article in German]


In a review of the literature the current knowledge of the diagnostic significance of sialic acid (NANA), neuron-specific enolase (NSE) and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) in the detection and differentiation of brain tumors is demonstrated. The efficiency of some additional biochemical tumor markers is briefly described. In a total of 101 patients of our own 63 patients operated on intracranial expansive lesions and 38 patients with non-tumoral diseases of the central nervous system were examined for their serum concentrations of NANA, NSE and CEA with additional determination of total serum protein (TSP) and C-reactive protein (CRP) concentrations. 24 benign, 15 semibenign, 12 semimalign and 12 malign expansions were compared with each other and with the controls for their tumor marker concentrations. The criteria of the diagnostic reliability (sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive value) were calculated for each single marker and the reliability of information for the combined used markers was evaluated. In summary the following results were found: The concentration of C-reactive protein corresponded significantly with the NANA-concentrations on the one hand and with the CEA-concentrations on the other hand (p less than 0.05). NANA: 1. The average concentration increased with increasing malignancy (no significance). 2. Patients who suffered from non-tumorous diseases of the central nervous system which coincided with brain tissue lesions had often extremely high values. 3. 4 of 10 healthy controls had NANA-levels above the reference value. 4. The sensitivity was 44%, the specificity 73%, the positive predictive value 17%, the negative predictive value 88% (patients with pathological CRP- or TSP-values excluded).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Brain Diseases / blood
  • Brain Diseases / diagnosis
  • Brain Neoplasms / blood
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Brain Neoplasms / secondary
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen / blood*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase / blood*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sialic Acids / blood*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen
  • Sialic Acids
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid