The role of carcinoembryonic antigen for the detection of recurrent disease following curative resection of large-bowel cancer

Matthias W. Wichmann, Christian Müller, Ulla Lau-Werner, Tim Strauss, Reinhold A. Lang, Hans M. Hornung, Petra Stieber, Friedrich Wilhelm Schildberg

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21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background and aims: During recent years, a discussion about cost-effectiveness and importance of follow-up evaluation after curative resection of large-bowel cancer has developed. It is not known whether the determination of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) plays a crucial role in the early detection of recurrent disease. Patients/methods: We conducted an analysis of the prospective follow-up database of 1321 patients after curative resection of colorectal cancer in our institution between 1990 and 1998 to evaluate the role of CEA in the early detection of recurrent disease. Results: Of the 1321 patients included in our study, 306 developed recurrent disease following curative resection (23.2%). These patients with recurrent disease were divided into: Group I. No pre-operative CEA determination/insufficient follow-up (n=47; 15.4%). Group II. No elevation of CEA with primary cancer (n=156; 51.0%): (IIa) elevation with recurrent disease (n=62); (IIb) no elevation at any time point (n=53); and (IIc) role of CEA not completely elucidated (n=41). Thirteen patients of group II underwent curative relapse surgery (8.3%). Group III. Elevated CEA with primary cancer (n=103; 33.7%): (IIIa) no increase with recurrent disease (n=21); (IIIb) increase with other symptoms of recurrent disease (n=45); and (IIIc) increased values as an early symptom of recurrent disease (n=37). Sixteen patients of group III underwent curative relapse surgery (15.5%). In patients after relapse surgery, recurrent disease developed again after a median time of 12 months (mean 17.9±3.8 months). Conclusions: Our findings indicate that 2.8% of all patients (12.1% of patients with recurrent disease) who underwent curative resection of colorectal cancer profit from follow-up CEA determinations. With careful observation of CEA kinetics, 6.2% (n=82) of all patients or 26.8% of patients with recurrent disease could profit from routine follow-up CEA determinations. In 9.5% of patients with recurrent disease, curative resection of relapse was achieved and these patients remained disease free for a median time of 12 months. Regular CEA measurements remain an important part of routine patient care after curative resection of colorectal cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-275
Number of pages5
JournalLangenbeck's Archives of Surgery
Volume385
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2000
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Carcinoembryonic antigen
  • Clinical study
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Follow-up
  • Recurrent disease

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    Wichmann, M. W., Müller, C., Lau-Werner, U., Strauss, T., Lang, R. A., Hornung, H. M., Stieber, P., & Schildberg, F. W. (2000). The role of carcinoembryonic antigen for the detection of recurrent disease following curative resection of large-bowel cancer. Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery, 385, 271-275. https://doi.org/10.1007/s004230000136