Limited clinical significance of the serum tumour marker Ca 72-4 in colorectal cancer

Anticancer Res. 1996 Mar-Apr;16(2):895-8.


Background: We explored the potential value of CA 72-4 in the staging and prognostic prediction of colorectal cancer, as compared to six previously investigated serum tumour markers - CEA, CA 19-9, CA 50, CA 242, TPA, and TPS.

Materials and methods: CA 72-4 was analysed using an immunoradiometric assay in serum samples obtained, prior to surgery, from 196 consecutive patients resected between Jan. 1987 and Nov. 1992.

Results: CA 72-4 levels increased with progressive tumour stages; a high level correlated with poor prognosis. However, the information obtained from CA 72-4 did not improve the ease of staging, as compared with other tumour markers. Various combinations of CA 72-4 with the other tumour markers did not add any substantial information to the staging process either. The value of the CA 72-4 in prognostic prediction, as shown in the univariate analysis, was limited in the multivariate tumour marker analyses.

Conclusions: CA 72-4 does not improve the staging and prognostic prediction of colorectal cancer, when compared with other serum tumour markers used.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antigens, Tumor-Associated, Carbohydrate / blood*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen / blood
  • Colonic Neoplasms / blood*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Rectal Neoplasms / blood*
  • Rectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Survival Analysis


  • Antigens, Tumor-Associated, Carbohydrate
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • CA-72-4 antigen
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen