• CEA;
  • CA 19-9;
  • CA 72-4;
  • CA 242;
  • hCGβ;
  • gastric cancer;
  • prognosis;
  • survival;
  • tumour marker


In gastric cancer, the role of tumour markers in assessment of prognosis is unconfirmed. In our study, we evaluated the prognostic significance of serum tumour markers carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), CA 19-9, CA 72-4, CA 242 and free β subunit of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCGβ) in gastric cancer. Preoperative serum samples were obtained from 146 patients with gastric cancer, including 29 with stage I, 11 with stage II, 42 with stage III and 64 patients with stage IV cancer. Quantitation of CEA, CA 19-9, CA 72-4 and CA 242 in serum was performed with commercial assays. HCGβ was measured with an in-house immunofluorometric assay based on monoclonal antibodies specific for the free β-subunit of hCG. Survival analysis was performed with Kaplan-Meier life-tables and log-rank test, and with multivariate Cox regression analysis. Disease-specific cumulative 2-year survival rate was 40%. Serum levels of CEA, CA 72-4, CA 242 and hCGβ showed significant correlation with stage (p<0.027); for CA 19-9 the association was of borderline significance (p=0.056). Of the studied markers, CA 19-9, CA 72-4, CA 242 and hCGβ were found to be prognostic factors in univariate analysis (p< 0.022). In multivariate analysis, stage had the statistically most significant association with prognosis followed by hCGβ, tumour histology according to the Laurén classification and by CA 72-4. In gastric cancer, tumour markers hCGβ and CA 72-4 are independent prognostic factors in addition to stage and histological type of the tumour. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.