What Are Tumor Markers?

What are tumor markers?

Tumor markers are contained in blood, body tissues or urine. When cancer occurs, tumor makers may grow to a higher level. In this case, tumor markers are used for:

  • Screening cancers
  • Diagnosing cancers together with other testing
  • Staging the cancer
  • Determining prognosis and treatment methods
  • Checking recurrence of the cancer

There are many types of tumor markers indicating different cancers. The major ones include:

  • ALK gene for non-small cell lung cancer and anaplastic large cell lymphoma
  • AFP (Alpha-feto protein) for liver, ovarian, testicular cancers and germ cell tumors
  • B2M (Beta-2 microglobulin) for multiple myeloma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • CA 19-9 (Cancer antigen 19-9) for pancreatic cancer, gallbladder cancer, bile duct cancer, and gastric cancer
  • HE4 for Ovarian cancer
  • Thyroglobulin for thyroid cancer
  • 70-Gene signature for breast cancer

There are still many other types of tumor markers. Consult your doctors for details.


Key words: tumor markers; cancer; usage.

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