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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Tumor Markers. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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CA 19-9

CA 19-9 has been detected in the blood of patients with colon cancer and pancreatic cancer. CA 19-9 is also known to be elevated in esophageal cancer and hepatocellular carcinoma. Many non-malignant conditions are known to elevate CA 19-9 in the blood, including cirrhosis, pancreatitis, and diseases of the bile duct.
Because CA 19-9 is not tissue-specific and is elevated in non-malignant states, its utility is not as a cancer screening tool in asymptomatic individuals, but rather as a management tool in pancreatic cancers. When treating individuals who have been diagnosed with a pancreatic tumor, a baseline level of CA 19-9 may be determined. Following treatment, follow-up testing regimens are used to assess the success of the treatment, as levels of CA 19-9 should decrease in response to the treatment.11
Likewise, subsequent increases or recurrence of elevated levels of CA 19-9 in the blood following a period of remission would be a likely indication of tumor regrowth or metastasis.