Advertisement

Is there a tumor marker for pancreatic cancer?

We don’t have a good tumor marker for pancreatic cancer. CA 19-9 is the only one that’s out there that has any relevancy, but it can be elevated in cases of chronic pancreatitis and elevated in people with emphysema. It can also be elevated in people who are markedly jaundiced with a gallstone. So, I think it’s an important adjunct to decision-making, but I’ve never not operated on a patient because their CA 19-9 level was not very high.

Certainly it’s ominous when you see the tumor marker get really high, say over 600, or certainly over 1,000. But it’s just not a reliable enough test right now to predicate decision-making upon that value. I do think it has value in terms of looking at how people respond after their tumor has been destroyed. But I’m not sure it’s a decision-making tool in terms of who you’re going to operate on, like PSA might be in some people with prostate cancer.
Ajay K. Sahajpal, MD
Transplant Surgery
Yes, for pancreatic adenocarcinoma a typical tumor marker is CA 19-9 and for neuroendocrine tumors it depends on the subtype of hormone being produced such as insulin or glucagon.

Continue Learning about Pancreatic Cancer

Alex Trebek, Beloved ‘Jeopardy!’ Host, Dies at the Age of 80
Alex Trebek, Beloved ‘Jeopardy!’ Host, Dies at the Age of 80
Updated on November 8, 2020 at 2:00pm EST. Alex Trebek, the legendary host of the long-running TV game-show, "Jeopardy!" has died. He was 80 years ol...
Read More
Why Is Pancreatic Cancer So Deadly?
Why Is Pancreatic Cancer So Deadly?
Pancreatic cancers are rarely detected early, are difficult to treat—and they often come back. An estimated 60,430 men and women in the United States ...
Read More
How is pancreatic cancer staged?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Staging a cancer refers to a way doctors describe the extent of the cancer in the body. The stage of...
More Answers
What new research is being done for pancreatic cancer?
NewYork-Presbyterian HospitalNewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
Doctors are conducting a unique prevention program dedicated to helping those with a family history ...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.