Indexed on: 17 Feb '07Published on: 17 Feb '07Published in: Medical Oncology
The identification of a reliable circulating tumor marker in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) could assist in diagnosis and monitoring response to therapy.The aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of the serum tumor markers CYFRA 21-1, TPA-M, SCCA, and CEA.Serum levels of CYFRA 21-1, TPA-M, SCCA, and CEA were measured in 136 patients with a histologically proven SCCHN before and after treatment and in 125 healthy subjects, as controls. We evaluated the sensitivity and specificity of these tumor markers and to correlate their levels with tumor staging, grading, or performance status.The study showed that none of the above markers presented satisfactory specificity and sensitivity in early diagnosis. In comparison with the other markers, TPA-M was the most effective of all markers and indicated a positive correlation with the grade of differentiation and nodal status. A remarkable correlation between high levels of TPA-M and CYFRA 21-1 in advanced stages (III, IV) of cancer has been shown.All the tumor markers that were studied have significant limitations in the early diagnosis of cancer, but TPA-M and CYFRA 21-1 may have a role in monitoring the success of therapy and follow up of patients with SCCHN.