The measurement of mucin-like carcinoma-associated antigen is mainly used to monitor patients with metastatic breast cancer.
The Mucin-like Carcinoma-associated Antigen (MCA) is a high molecular weight glycoprotein, a product of the MUC1 gene. Small amounts of MCA are normally produced by the epithelial cells of the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and urogenital systems. Exocrine glands such as breast, salivary glands, and sweat glands also produce small amounts of MCA.
The mucin-like carcinoma-associated antigen is useful as an indicator for the investigation of metastases, for monitoring the therapeutic response of tumors, for the detection of relapses, and for the staging of tumors. Many cancer antigens are classified as mucin-like because they contain the same core of the MUC1 gene, with different glycosylation variants. Such antigens are CA 15-5 commonly used to monitor ovarian cancer, CA 19-9 used to monitor gastrointestinal cancer, CA 50 used to monitor lung and gastrointestinal cancers, CA 72-4 used to monitor gastrointestinal and ovarian cancers, CA 125 used to monitor breast and ovarian cancers, etc.
The mucin-like carcinoma-associated antigen is usually elevated in the second trimester of pregnancy and steadily increases until slightly after childbirth. Thus, in pregnant women, MCA is useful for monitoring breast cancer only in the early stages of pregnancy.
Possible Interpretations of Pathological Values
Increase: Breast cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, gastrointestinal cancer, hepatitis, lung cancer, mammary dysplasia, metastasis, ovarian cancer.
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. The 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.