What are tumor markers?

MyConciergeMD | Tumor Marker Testing Los AngelesTumor markers are proteins and other substances that are produced by cancer cells in the body as well as normal cells. Because of this reason sometimes a false positive may occur when screening for cancer with a tumor marker, however tumor markers are produced at much higher levels by cancer cells and with other diagnostic testing can be used to diagnose cancer in its early stages.  Tumor markers can be found throughout the body, it may be detected in blood, urine or tissue.  The body can produce numerous markers at a time. There are at least 20 different tumor markers that are currently in clinical use. Our Beverly Hills office performs tumor marker testing and cancer markers including cea test, psa test, ca 125 blood test, AFP, CA 19-9, breast cancer markers and more. A blood test for cancer with addition of other tests can detect early cancer and can be scheduled in our office.

How are Tumor Markers used?

There are many ways to detect and diagnose cancer, and one way is through tumor markers. In order to make an accurate diagnostic, biopsies and other tests are used along with it. Tumor markers can help with the staging and prognosis. When a person is diagnosed with cancer, often times the doctor measures the tumor marker periodically. If the marker gets shorter than it was initially at the start of the diagnosis of cancer, then this may indicate that treatment and therapy are working.  Tumor markers help the doctor determine which treatment is working best with the patient.

Tumor Markers in cancer screening

Tumor markers are not specific or sensitive enough to be used on their own for cancer screening, but can be used with other diagnostic testing to diagnoses different types of cancers in its early stages.

Some of the Tumor Markers that we currently test for in our office:

  • Alpha-fetoprotein also known as (AFP), is used to diagnose, stage liver cancer and germ cell tumors.
  • CA15-3/CA27.29  is used to diagnoses and monitor the treatment of Breast Cancer.
  • CA-125 Used in the diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer and its response to treatment.
  • Calcitonin Used to help diagnosis Medullary Thyroid Cancer and to assess treatment.
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA) Used in Colorectal cancer and breast cancer.
  • CA 19-9 Used in Pancreatic Cancer, Gallbladder cancer, Bile Duct Cancer and Gastric Cancer.
  • CD20 Used in Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
  • HE4 Used in Ovarian Cancer.
  • HER2/neu Used in Breast Cancer, Gastric Cancer and esophageal cancer.
  • Lactate Dehydrogenase Also known as LDH is used in Germ cell tumors.
  • Thyroglobulin Is used in Thyroid Cancer.
  • PSA Used in Prostate Cancer.

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