Serum CA 72-4 antigen measurement is used to monitor gastric cancer and certain other cancers, such as ovarian cancer.
The MUC1 gene encodes for a high molecular weight glycoprotein found in specific tissues throughout the body. The product of the MUC1 gene has many varieties of carbohydrate chains and one of them is the cancerous (or carbohydrate) antigen 72-4 (CA 72-4), which is found in the bloodstream in certain types of cancers. CA 72-4 is elevated in gastrointestinal cancers and ovarian cancers. Measurement and evaluation of CA 72-4 levels is done in combination with other cancer markers. CA 72-4 measurement is not useful for detecting small metastases of colorectal cancer but is positive in advanced metastatic tumors. Its utility as a predictor of survival in gastric cancer is being investigated.
The CA 72-4 measurement can be used in combination with other cancer markers to detect stomach cancer. CA 72-4 is a specific marker (100%) for esophageal, stomach and colon cancer, but is not very sensitive (18%, 32% and 56%, respectively) on its own. When used in combination with other cancer markers, there is an increased sensitivity for gastric cancer to 81% and an increased sensitivity for esophageal cancer to 74%. The measurement of CA 72-4 can be used in conjunction with CA 125 for ovarian cancer while also increasing in endometrial cancer. CA 72-4 is increased in 85% of cases of invasive breast carcinoma.
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.