A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Oncology reports that a lab test analyzing a cancer marker known as carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) may be useful in identifying patients who may be at risk for recurrence of gastric cancer.
Gastric cancer is a disease in which cancerous cells form in the lining of the stomach. In its earliest stages, gastric cancer affects the innermost lining of the stomach (the mucosal layer) and spreads to the middle layer (the muscularis) and the outermost layer (the serosal layer) and beyond as it grows. Current treatment options for gastric cancer include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is often used to destroy tumor cells, stabilize tumor growth or to control symptoms associated with gastric cancer.
In this recent study, researchers analyzed blood samples of 46 patients diagnosed with gastric cancer who had been considered cured of the disease after undergoing surgery. A series of blood tests measuring CEA and analyzing its genetic make-up were taken every 2 months. Extensive analysis revealed that clinical recurrence rates were correctly identified a significant portion of the time.
Researchers concluded that evaluating the genetic changes of the CEA marker shows promise in becoming a useful tool in the early detection of recurrent gastric cancer.
Reference: Seo J, Choi C, Kim B, et al. Follow-Up Study of Peripheral Blood Carcinoembryonic Antigen mRNA Using Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction as an Early Marker of Clinical Recurrence in Patients with Curatively Resected Gastric Cancer. American Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2005; 28: 24-29.