Prognostic significance of tumour markers in Chinese patients with gastric cancer

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Background and objectives:

The clinical value of preoperative tumour markers remains elusive in gastric cancer. The aim of this study was to investigate the prognostic value of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), carbohydrate antigen (CA)19–9, CA50 and CA72–4 in gastric cancer.


About 391 gastric cancer patients who underwent curative D2 gastrectomy between 2001 and 2006 were evaluated. The correlation between tumour markers and clinicopathologic characteristics and prognostic value of preoperative tumour markers was investigated.


Correlation analysis showed that AFP was associated with tumour size (P = 0.040); CEA with lymphatic invasion (P = 0.023) and pathological stage (P = 0.018); CA19–9 with tumour size (P = 0.000), Borrmann type (P = 0.027), lymphatic invasion (P = 0.020) and pathological stage (P = 0.001); CA50 with lymphatic invasion (P = 0.004) and pathological stage (P = 0.004); CA72–4 with tumour size (P = 0.000), tumour size (P = 0.000) and Borrmann type (P = 0.008); lymphatic invasion (P = 0.000), nervous invasion (P = 0.028) and pathological stage (P = 0.000). Multivariate analysis showed that CEA, tumour site, Borrmann type and pathological stage were independent prognostic factors.


Preoperative CEA might be a candidate for the staging system in addition to conventional factors.

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