Preoperative Carcinoembryonic Antigen and Albumin in Predicting Survival in Patients With Colon and Rectal Carcinomas

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Abstract

Objective

To examine the relationship between postoperative outcomes of colorectal carcinoma patients and preoperative serum carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and albumin (ALB) levels and evaluate if these levels can accurately predict outcomes and/or be factor indicating adjuvant chemotherapy.

Background

CEA is a marker for colorectal carcinoma and its level usually increases before a distant metastasis is detected. Also, a low level of serum ALB is usually found in metastatic colorectal carcinoma patients.

Study

A retrospective cohort study of patients with colorectal carcinomas who were treated with curative surgery in Songklanagarind Hospital between 1998 and 2002.

Results

One hundred seventy patients were identified with a median survival of 1131 days (range 71 to 2293 d) and with an overall 5-year survival rate of 54%. Patients were stratified using CEA at 5 ng/mL and an ALB level at 3.5 g/dL into 4 groups: (1) low CEA, high ALB; (2) low CEA, low ALB; (3) high CEA, high ALB; and (4) high CEA, low ALB. The 5-year survival rates for groups 1 to 4 were 66%, 63%, 46%, and 34%, respectively. There was statistically significant difference in 5-year survival between the well-differentiated tumor with low CEA and the poorly differentiated tumor with high CEA (P=0.0115). The high CEA patients who had the well-differentiated tumor had longer survival than those with a poorly differentiated tumor (P=0.0412).

Conclusions

A preoperative CEA level greater than or equal to 5 ng/mL and ALB level less than 3.5 g/dL predict a poor survival chance for colorectal carcinoma patients. In high CEA patients, tumor differentiated is an independent factor affecting survival.

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