Comparison between clinical significance of serum proinflammatory proteins (IL-6 and CRP) and classic tumor markers (CEA and CA 19-9) in gastric cancer

Clin Exp Med. 2011 Jun;11(2):89-96. doi: 10.1007/s10238-010-0114-5. Epub 2010 Oct 12.


Gastric cancer (GC) is a second most common cause of cancer-related death and represents an inflammation-driven malignancy. It has been suggested that interleukin 6 (IL-6) and C-reactive protein (CRP) play a potential role in the growth and progression of GC. The aim of the present study was to compare clinical significance of IL-6 and CRP with classic tumor markers-carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and carbohydrate antigen (CA 19-9) in GC patients. The study included 92 patients with GC and 70 healthy subjects. The serum concentrations of IL-6, CEA and CA 19-9 were determined using immunoenzyme assays, whereas CRP using immunoturbidimetric method. We defined the diagnostic criteria and prognostic value for proteins tested. In GC patients, the serum concentrations of all the proteins tested were significantly higher than in healthy subjects. The IL-6, CEA and CA 19-9 levels correlated with nodal metastases, while CRP with tumor stage, gastric wall invasion, presence of nodal and distant metastases. Diagnostic sensitivity of IL-6 was higher (85%) than those of other markers (CRP 66%, CA 19-9 34%, CEA 22%) and increased in combined use with CRP or CEA (88%). The area under ROC curve for IL-6 was larger than those of CRP and classic tumor markers (CEA and CA 19-9). None of the proteins tested was independent prognostic factor for the survival of GC patients. Our findings indicate better usefulness of serum proinflammatory proteins-IL-6 and CRP than classic tumor markers-CEA and CA 19-9 in the diagnosis of GC.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis*
  • CA-19-9 Antigen / blood*
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen / blood*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephelometry and Turbidimetry
  • ROC Curve
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Serum / chemistry
  • Stomach Neoplasms / diagnosis*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • CA-19-9 Antigen
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen
  • IL6 protein, human
  • Interleukin-6
  • C-Reactive Protein