Background: The diagnostic and prognostic significance of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), carbohydrate associated antigen 19-9 (CA19-9), alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and cancer antigen 125 (CA125) in early gastric cancer have not been investigated yet. Thus, the present study aimed to explore the diagnostic and prognostic significance of the four tumor markers for early gastric cancer.
Methods: From September 2008 to March 2015, 587 early gastric cancer patients were given radical gastrectomy in our center. The clinicopathological characteristics were recorded. The association between levels of CEA and CA19-9 and clinicopathological characteristics and prognosis of patients were analyzed.
Results: There were 444 men (75.6%) and 143 women (24.4%). The median age was 57 years (ranged 21-85). The 1-, 3- and 5-year overall survival rate was 99.1%, 96.8% and 93.1%, respectively. The positive rate of CEA, CA19-9, AFP and CA125 was 4.3%, 4.8%, 1.5% and 1.9%, respectively. The positive rate of all markers combined was 10.4%. The associations between the clinicopathological features and levels of CEA and CA19-9 were analyzed. No significant association was found between CEA level and clinicopathological features. However, elevated CA19-9 level was correlated with female gender and presence of lymph node metastasis. Age > 60 years old, presence of lymph node metastasis and elevation of CEA level were independent risk factors for poor prognosis of early gastric cancer.
Conclusions: The positive rates of CEA, CA19-9, APF and CA125 were relatively low for early gastric cancer. Elevation of CA19-9 level was associated with female gender and presence of lymph node metastasis. Elevation of CEA level was an independent risk factor for the poor prognosis of early gastric cancer.
Keywords: Diagnosis; Early gastric cancer; Prognosis; Tumor marker.