Evaluation of CA 19-9 as a serum tumour marker in pancreatic cancer

Br J Cancer. 1986 Feb;53(2):197-202. doi: 10.1038/bjc.1986.35.


Serum concentrations of the CA 19-9 antigen were determined in 91 patients with pancreatic cancer and in 111 patients with benign pancreatic, biliary and hepatocellular diseases. The CA 19-9 concentration was above the cut-off limit (37 U ml-1) in 78% of the patients with pancreatic cancer and high levels (greater than 500 U ml-1) were seen in 56% of these patients. Elevated levels were also seen in benign diseases (22%), especially in patients with extrahepatic cholestasis (up to 440 U ml-1). Hepatocellular jaundice and pancreatitis were associated with normal values (84% of the patients), or with only slightly elevated CA 19-9 levels (up to 88 U ml-1). The CA 19-9 test can be useful as an additional diagnostic tool for the detection of pancreatic cancer. Preliminary results suggest that the CA 19-9 assay can be used in the monitoring of surgically treated patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkaline Phosphatase / blood
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / analysis*
  • Antigens, Tumor-Associated, Carbohydrate
  • Biliary Tract Diseases / immunology
  • Bilirubin / blood
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen / analysis
  • Humans
  • Jaundice / immunology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Pancreatitis / immunology
  • Time Factors


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Antigens, Tumor-Associated, Carbohydrate
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Bilirubin