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Updated: Mar 30 2023

Tumor Markers

  • Overview
    • Proteins released by neoplasm into circulation
    • Tumor markers should be used to
      • confirm diagnosis
      • monitor therapeutic response
      • monitor tumor recurrence
      • NOT as a means to diagnose cancer in absence of physical examination of the tissue (e.g. biopsy)
      • Tumor Markers
      • Reproductive Cancer Markers
      • Normal Function
      • Description
      • PSA (Prostate-specific antigen)
      • Liquefaction of semen
      • Prostate carcinoma
        • also released with BPH and prostatitis
        • increase in bound PSA (as compared to free PSA) is suggestive of cancer
      • Prostatic acid phosphatase
      • Prostate carcinoma
      • α-fetoprotein (AFP)
      • Fetal albumin
      • Hepatocellular carcinomas
      • Nonseminomatous germ cell tumors of the testise.g. yolk sac tumor
      • β-hCG
      • Normally released by placenta as a corpus luteum trophic hormone
      • Hydatidiform moles
      • Choriocarcinomas
      • Gestational trophoblastic tumors
      • Released by peritoneum with irritation (can be elevated in endometriosis)
      • Epithelial tumors
      • Miscellaneous Cancer Markers
      • Description
      • TRAP (Tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase)
      • Hairy cell leukemia 
      • CA-19-9
      • Pancreatic adenocarcinoma
      • Chromogranin
      • Neuroendocrine tumors
      • Calcitonin
      • Medullary carcinoma of the thyroid
      • Multicancer Markers
      • Description
      • S-100
      • Melanoma
      • Neural tumors
      • Astrocytomas
      • Alkaline phosphatase
      • Marker of bone formation
        • osteoblastic metastases to bone (e.g. prostate)
        • Paget's disease of bone
      • Also released when bile ducts are damaged
        • obstructive biliary disease
      • Bombesin
      • Neuroblastoma
      • Lung cancer
      • Gastric cancer
      • CEA
      • Colorectal cancer
      • Pancreatic cancer
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