CA 19-9 (Cancer Antigen 19-9, CA 19-9 Tumor Marker)

Cancer antigen 19-9 (CA 19-9) is an antigen that has been found elevated in patients with tumors of the gastrointestinal tract.

Test Description

A tumor marker is a substance produced by body cells in response to the presence of cancer. Cancer antigen 19-9 (CA 19-9) is an antigen that has been found elevated in patients with tumors of the gastrointestinal tract. This test is especially useful in the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. CA 19-9 is neither sensitive nor specific enough to be used for cancer screening. However, monitoring the CA 19-9 levels can be useful in assessing the effectiveness of treatment for pancreatic cancer and watching for cancer recurrence. The highest levels of CA 19-9 are seen in excretory ductal pancreatic cancer. Unfortunately, by the time symptoms are present< and the CA 19-9 is elevated, the pancreatic cancer may be quite advanced.
CA 19-9

THE EVIDENCE FOR PRACTICE

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends against routine screening for pancreatic cancer in asymptomatic adults using abdominal palpation, ultrasonography, or serologic markers.

Normal Values

<37 U/mL (<37 kU/L SI units)

Possible Meanings of Abnormal Values

Increased
  • Cholecystitis
  • Cholelithiasis
  • Cirrhosis
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Gall bladder cancer
  • Gastric cancer
  • Hepatobiliary cancer
  • Liver disease
  • Lung cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Pancreatitis

Interventions/Implications

Pretest

  • Explain to the patient the purpose of the test and the need for a blood sample to be drawn.
  • No fasting is required before the test.

Procedure

  • A 5-mL blood sample is collected in a red-top tube.
  • Gloves are worn throughout the procedure.

Posttest

  • Apply pressure at venipuncture site. Apply dressing, periodically assessing for continued bleeding.
  • The sample is labeled and transported to the laboratory.
  • Report abnormal findings to the primary care provider.

Clinical Alerts

Further diagnostic testing may include CT (computed tomographic) scan, ultrasound, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography), and/or biopsy.

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Dr Lobby | DrLobby.com: CA 19-9 (Cancer Antigen 19-9, CA 19-9 Tumor Marker)
CA 19-9 (Cancer Antigen 19-9, CA 19-9 Tumor Marker)
Cancer antigen 19-9 (CA 19-9) is an antigen that has been found elevated in patients with tumors of the gastrointestinal tract.
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