Tumor cells have a much greater growth and metabolic activity than normal cells, so they are able to produce greater amounts of substances that allow them to be identified. These substances are known as tumor markers.
It should be noted that these alerts are not always specific. These substances are often elevated in the absence of cancer. An example is the prostatic antigen, which can rise when the prostate increases in size, as in benign prostatic hyperplasia, or in chronic prostate infections such as prostatitis.
Usefulness of these indicators
This type of identification is very useful to help establish the stage of the cancer, as well as to monitor the response to treatment. Variations in their values, such as a decrease or a return to normal values, allow you to assess whether the cancer is responding to therapy. Tumor Markers
Currently, tumor markers are not a diagnostic method for cancer. This is because their presence may be related to disorders that are not malignant.
The warnings are specific to each type of tumor. Some are specific, while others can present with different types of cancer. Those of greatest clinical use are as follows:
- – Carcinoembryonic antigen. It is used to determine the presence of tumors such as colon cancer.
- – Prostate antigen (PSA). It is one of the best known, its determination is carried out when detecting prostate cancer .
- – Alpha fetus protein . It is a sign of tumors of the liver, ovary and testis.
- – Human Chorionic Gonadotropin hCG. It is related to germ cell tumors such as ovary and testis.
- – CA 19-9. It is related to some types of cancer of the gastrointestinal tract, especially the pancreas, gallbladder, bile duct (choledochus) and stomach.
- – CA 15-3, CA 27-29. It is an important breast cancer alert.
- – HE4 – CA 125. They are related to ovarian cancer.
- – Calcitonin. It is a hormone that targets high levels of thyroid cancer.
- – Immunoglobulins. Its values increase abnormally in tumors such as multiple myeloma .
- – Neuronal specific enolase (NSE). It is a warning of small cell lung cancer.
Many genes are also used as references. These DNA fragments can be studied in genetic tests. They are mainly used in breast, lung and colon cancer. Tumor Markers
How are tumor markers determined
These substances are measured in blood as well as in body tissues and fluids. Thus, their values are obtained from laboratory tests.
These are special studies and, therefore, are not determined with routine exams such as the general profile or profile 20.