Pre-treatment serum levels of tumour markers in metastatic breast cancer: a prospective assessment of their role in predicting response to therapy and survival

Eur J Surg Oncol. 1995 Oct;21(5):504-9. doi: 10.1016/s0748-7983(95)96935-7.


The value of pre-treatment serum tumour marker levels in 85 consecutive patients of newly diagnosed metastatic breast cancer was prospectively assessed for predicting response to therapy and survival. The markers studied were carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), orosomucoid (ORO), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C reactive protein (CRP), ferritin (FERR), human milk fat globule membrane 1 and 2 (HMFG1 and 2), CA 15-3 and NCRC-11. There was no correlation between serum marker levels and response to therapy. Only serum concentrations of CRP (P = 0.02), FERR (P = 0.001), HMFG1 (P = 0.004) and HMFG2 (P = 0.04) were predictive for survival. The prognostic significance of HMFG1 was restricted to a minority of patients (7%) with extreme values of these serum markers.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers, Tumor