Serum a-Fetoprotein in Patients with Neoplasms of the Gastrointestinal Tract'


Serum a-fetoprotein levels were measured by a sensitive double-antibody radioimmunoassay in 580 patients with a variety of malignant and nonmalignant gastrointestinal diseases to determine the incidence of levels elevated above 40 ng/ml. Over 200 normal control subjects have all had levels below 40 ng/ml. Fifteen % of 95 patients with gastric carcinoma, 3% of 191 patients with colorectal carcinoma, 24% of 45 patients with pancreatic carcinoma, 25% of 8 patients with biliary tract carcinoma, and 70% of73 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma had elevated serum a-feto protein. None of 14 patients with esophageal or small bowel carcinoma had elevated levels. In contrast, 1% of 154 patients with nonmalignant, nonhepatic gastrointestinal disease had elevations of serum a-fetoprotein. a-Feto protein appears to be a potential marker for tumor activity in some patients with certain gastrointestinal cancers.

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