CA-15.3 assay in effusions: comparison with carcinoembryonic antigen and CA-125 assay and cytologic diagnosis

Acta Cytol. May-Jun 1996;40(3):437-42. doi: 10.1159/000333895.

Abstract

Objective: To compare the sensitivity of CA-15.3 with cytologic diagnosis and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and CA-125 content and to determine if elevated CA-15.3 suggests a breast primary.

Study design: A retrospective study of 111 consecutive effusions. CEA was measured by enzyme immunoassay (cutoff > 5 ng/mL), CA-125 by radioimmunoassay (cutoff > 5,000 micron/mL) and CA-15.3 by radioimmunoassay (cutoff > 15 micron/mL). Results were correlated with cytologic diagnosis, histology (when available), clinical and radiologic data, and follow-up.

Results: The results were: benign, 39; malignant, 72; sensitivities and specificities: cytology, 76%/100%; CEA, 80%/97%; CA-125 22%/100%; and CA-15.3, 69%/89%. The sensitivity of CEA and cytology was 97% and of CA-15.3 and cytology, 87%. Neither mean (293.4 micron/mL) nor range of CA-15.3 predicted a breast primary. Falsely elevated CEA and CA-15.3 were noted in ascites with fecal contents from colonic perforation. High CA-125 and low CEA predicted an ovarian/endometrial primary.

Conclusion: CA-15.3 assay in effusions is not recommended since it neither enhances the sensitivity of cytologic diagnosis nor predicts a breast primary.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Breast Neoplasms / complications
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • CA-125 Antigen / analysis*
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen / analysis*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / complications
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / complications
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / complications
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mucin-1 / analysis*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / complications
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pleural Effusion / chemistry*
  • Pleural Effusion / etiology
  • Pleural Effusion / pathology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity

Substances

  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • CA-125 Antigen
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen
  • Mucin-1