Purpose: Serum LDH, CEA, and CA19-9 levels are important tumor markers in pancreatic cancer. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the clinical significance of serum LDH, CEA, and CA19-9 levels in metastatic pancreatic cancer (MPC) receiving gemcitabine-based chemotherapy.
Materials and methods: In this retrospective study, we analyzed the outcome of 196 MPC patients who are treated with gemcitabine-based chemotherapy in our clinic.
Results: Positivity rates of serum LDH, CEA, and CA19-9 were 22, 40, and 83 %, respectively. Likewise, the rates of very high serum levels of tumor markers were correlated with these positivity rates (9 % for LDH, 30 % for CEA, and 55 % for CA19-9). The serum LDH levels were significantly higher in older patients (p = 0.05) and also in the patients with large tumors (p = 0.05), hepatic metastasis (p = 0.01), hypoalbuminemia (p = 0.01), and unresponsive to chemotherapy (p = 0.04). However, no correlation was found between both serum CEA and CA19-9 levels and possible prognostic factors (p > 0.05). The significant relationships were found between the serum levels of CEA and CA19-9 (r s = 0.24, p = 0.004), and serum LDH and CEA (r(s) = 0.193, p = 0.02). But, there was no correlation between serum LDH and CA19-9 levels (p = 0.39). One-year overall survival rate was 12.8 % (95 % CI 8-18). Increased serum levels of all the tumor markers significantly had adverse affect on survival (p = 0.001 for LDH, p = 0.002 for CEA, and p = 0.007 for CA19-9). However, no difference was observed in between high levels and very high levels of serum markers for all tumor markers (p > 0.05). Patients with normal serum levels of all three tumor markers had better outcome than others (p = 0.002) and those with normal serum LDH and CEA levels (whatever CA19-9) levels had associated with better survival compared with other possible alternatives (p < 0.001).
Conclusion: Serum levels of LDH, CEA, and CA19-9 had significant affect on survival in MPC patients.