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Tumor Markers
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Tumor Markers

Tumor markers are substances found in the blood, urine or body tissues that can be elevated in cancer. There are many different tumor markers. They are used in oncology to help determine the presence of cancer. An elevated level of a tumor marker can indicate cancer, however there can often also be other causes of the elevation.

Tumor markers can be produced directly by the tumor or by non-tumor cells as a response to the presence of a tumor. Tumor markers can be used in screening programs, such as screening for elevated levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA) to indicate possible prostate cancer. Tumor markers are also used to monitor patients for cancer return. Tumor markers can be classified in two groups: Cancer-specific markers and tissue-specific markers.

Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma


  • Ki-67 expression estimated by the use of MIB1 is a powerful tool for predicting the short-term prognosis for patients with adenoid cystic carcinoma. PMID: 9111386

KIT (CD117)

Adrenocortical Carcinoma


  • marker of choice for the consistent distinction between adrenocortical carcinoma and renal cell carcinoma in fine-needle aspiration. PMID: 10385449

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

ST-3 protein

  • an immunohistochemical marker to distinguish morphealike basal cell carcinoma (BCC) from desmoplastic trichoepithelioma (DTE). PMID: 9557781

Bile duct carcinoma


Biliary Tract Carcinoma


  • a superior marker for detection of micrometastatic biliary tract carcinoma. PMID: 15836844

Mac-2BP (Mac-2-binding protein)

Epithelial-Myoepithelial Carcinoma (EMC)


  • an especially useful marker of myoepithelial cells with naked nuclei in epithelial-myoepithelial carcinoma (EMC). PMID: 15959915

Ewing's Sarcoma

LDH (lactase dehydrogenase)

  • most sensitive as a tumor marker for recurrent disease in Ewing's sarcoma patients with multiple sites of tumor involvement at the time of recurrence. PMID: 3815300

Fallopian Tube Carcinoma


  • a prognostic marker in primary fallopian tube carcinoma. PMID: 16340249

Glottic Carcinoma

beta1 Integrin

  • a prediction marker for radiotherapy in early glottic carcinoma. PMID: 16826065


  • overexpression on the resection margins as a marker of local recurrence in glottic T1a carcinoma. PMID: 15198048

Lymphoepithelioma-Like Carcinoma (LELC)


  • circulating serum Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNA can be used as a tumor marker in the clinical management of patients with LELC of the lung. PMID: 15251971

Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS)

WT1 (Wilms' tumor gene-1)

  • quantitation of WT1 expression levels is useful for diagnosis of minimal residual disease of MDS with high sensitivity, thus making it possible to evaluate the efficacy of treatment for MDS. PMID: 10086730


beta-2 Microglobulin

  • a tumor marker in a patient with myeloma of the central nervous system. PMID: 17206305



  • plasma level of inactive renin could be a useful biochemical tumor marker in nephroblastoma. PMID: 3031261

Neuroendocrine Carcinoma


  • a novel marker of tumor progression in neuroendocrine carcinomas. PMID: 16523412

Oesophageal Carcinoma


  • the presence of serum p53 autoantibodies is associated with decreased survival for patients with oesophageal carcinoma. PMID: 11911308

Parathyroid Carcinoma

TRAP (Telomerase repeat amplification protocol)

  • TRAP assay is easy to perform and it could become an additional tool to be included in the harmamentarium for the molecular diagnosis of parathyroid carcinoma. PMID: 10548522

Periampullary Cancer


  • An elevated Tu-M2-PK more than 27 U/mL measured on admission in suspected periampullary cancer is a predictor of adverse prognosis in periampullary cancer. PMID: 17414054

Psoriasis Vulgaris


  • can be a sensitive marker of activity of psoriasis vulgaris and decreases following the effective treatment. PMID: 16095152

Pulmonary Adenocarcinoma

CAM 123-6

  • more specific to pulmonary adenocarcinoma than carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), but the sensitivity of CAM 123-6 for pulmonary adenocarcinoma was similar to that of CEA. CAM 123-6 is a promising candidate as a serum tumor marker for pulmonary adenocarcinoma. PMID: 8144402

Rectal Carcinoma


  • a predictive marker for therapeutic response to preoperative chemoradiotherapy in patients with rectal carcinoma. PMID: 15891997


  • HIF-1alpha might represent an important biologic marker evaluating the prognosis of patients with rectal adenocarcinoma. PMID: 16512994


  • Budding is a pathological marker suggesting high malignant potential and decreased postoperative survival in patients with well- or moderately-differentiated pT3 rectal adenocarcinoma. PMID: 12722096


Arpp (muscle ankyrin-repeat protein)

  • sensitive to and specific for rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS). Thus, we proposed that Arpp is a novel skeletal muscle-specific marker, which is useful for differential diagnosis of RMS. PMID: 16021567


  • should be considered an extremely sensitive and specific tissue tumor marker for rhabdomyosarcoma of considerable clinical importance. PMID: 6288224



  • a potential diagnostic marker for seminomas and may be associated with malignancies of the testis. PMID: 15361850


  • a useful diagnostic tool in the identification of primary testicular embryonal carcinomas and "usual," but not spermatocytic, seminomas. PMID: 15223965


  • a clinically useful serum tumor marker for seminoma. PMID: 7093962

Small Cell Carcinoma


  • highly expressed in either small cell carcinoma or their metastatic lymph nodes without organ-specificity. It could serve as a potential diagnostic marker of small cell carcinoma. PMID: 16159442

Spindle Cell Carcinoma of Breast


  • Wide spectrum screening keratin may be the most useful and convenient antibody in differentiating metaplastic spindle cell carcinoma from other spindle cell lesions in the breast. PMID: 12047767



  • expression correlates with aggressiveness in thymic epithelial neoplasms. PMID: 8892596

Trophoblastic Neoplasms

hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin)

  • a highly specific tumor marker or trophoblastic neoplasms. PMID: 8492514

Urothelial Carcinoma


  • an important biomarker that can be used to identify TCC in urine cytology smears. It is particularly useful in those cases where malignancy cannot be confirmed by morphology alone. PMID: 17397492
  • a simple and useful early detection marker for urothelial carcinoma. PMID: 11341356

PSCA (Prostate stem cell antigen)

  • Immunocytochemical analysis of PSCA on archived voided urine samples may provide a simple and quantitative adjunct marker for cytological diagnosis of urothelial carcinoma. PMID: 12771726

Vascular Neoplasm

Thrombomodulin (TM)

  • a sensitive marker for both benign and malignant vascular neoplasms. PMID: 15491324

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