ABSTRACT: To evaluate the diagnostic value of four different tumor markers: cancer antigen 125 (CA-125), carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), cytokeratin 19 fragment (CYFRA 21-1) and neuron specific enolase (NSE) in patients with malignant and non-malignant pleural effusion.
One hundred and two patients with pleural effusion treated in the University Hospital in Warsaw between 2001 and 2003 were studied. They underwent an extensive, diagnostic work-up in order to determine the pleural effusion etiology. Patients with known pleural fluid etiology were labeled as the study group and submitted for further analysis. Pleural fluid and serum samples for CA-125, CEA, CYFRA 21-1 and NSE measurements were collected during the first thoracentesis, centrifuged, and frozen until further use. Pleural fluid and serum concentration of tumor markers were assessed by electrochemiluminescence methods using commercial kits.
74 patients (32 M, 42 F; mean age 65 +/-14 years) composed the final study group. Exudative pleural effusion was found in 62 patients; of these 36 were malignant (48.6% of all effusions), 20 parapneumonic (or pleural empyema), and 6 tuberculous. In 12 patients, pleural transudate was diagnosed. The highest diagnostic sensitivity for malignant pleural effusion was found for NSE (94.4% and 80.6% in the pleural fluid and serum, respectively). However, the specificity of NSE measurement was relatively low (36.1% and 47.4% in pleural fluid and serum, respectively). The most specific markers of malignant pleural fluid etiology were pleural fluid CYFRA 21-1 and CEA levels (92.1% and 92.1%, respectively). CA-125 was found to be the most specific serum marker of pleural malignancies (78.9%). The AUC for combined pleural markers was 0.89, combined serum markers 0.82, combined ratio pleural/serum markers 0.88.
There are significant differences between the diagnostic value of various pleural fluid and serum markers. Overall, pleural fluid markers are superior to serum markers in determining the pleural fluid etiology. A combination of two or more tumor markers may help improve their diagnostic accuracy. Pleural fluid and serum measurements of different tumor markers play a limited role in the differentiation between malignant and non-malignant pleural effusions.
European journal of medical research 12/2009; 14 Suppl 4:128-33. · 1.13 Impact Factor