Breast Cancer

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 389–395

Significance of serum tumor markers in monitoring advanced breast cancer patients treated with systemic therapy: A prospective study

  • Junichi Kurebayashi
  • Reiki Nishimura
  • Katsuhiro Tanaka
  • Norio Kohno
  • Masafumi Kurosumi
  • Takuya Moriya
  • Yoshinari Ogawa
  • Tetsuya Taguchi
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF02968047

Cite this article as:
Kurebayashi, J., Nishimura, R., Tanaka, K. et al. Breast Cancer (2004) 11: 389. doi:10.1007/BF02968047
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Abstract

Objective

The significance of serum tumor markers in monitoring advanced breast cancer patients is still controversial. To clarify this issue, the Tumor Marker Study Group of the Japanese Breast Cancer Society conducted a prospective study.

Methods

Patients with advanced breast cancer who were treated with systemic therapy between January and December 2002 were recruited from five collaborative institutes in Japan. The patients were monitored every four weeks using three serum tumor markers, CEA, CA 15-3 and NCC-ST-439 during the therapy.

Results

Findings from 108 eligible patients were analyzed. The pretreatment positivity rates were 51.9% for CEA, 50% for CA 15-3, and 34.3% for NCC-ST-439. The changes in each marker level at 8 and 12 weeks but not at 4 weeks after the start of therapy seemed to correlate with the response to therapy in pretreatment marker-positive patients but not in negative patients. The Cox proportional hazard model revealed a greater than 20% reduction in CEA, CA 15-3 or NCC-ST-439 levels at 4, 8 and/or 12 weeks after the start of therapy to be an independent predictive factor for longer time-to-progression (TTP) in pretreatment marker-positive patients.

Conclusion

This prospective study supported the findings obtained from our previous retrospective study that in pretreatment marker-positive patients 1) the changes in serum tumor marker levels after the start of therapy correlate with the response to therapy; and 2) a greater than 20% reduction in the tumor marker levels was a favorable predictive factor for TTP during systemic therapy. When the pretreatment serum level of these markers is over the respective cut-off value, sequential measurement of them may be useful for evaluating the efficacy of treatment as well as monitoring the outcome of patients with advanced breast cancer.

Key words

Breast cancer CEA CA 15-3 NCC-ST-439 Time-to-progression 

Abbreviations:

CEA

Carcinoembryonic antigen

TTP

Time-to-progression

CR

Complete response

PR

Partial response

NC

No change

PD

Progressive disease

Copyright information

© The Japanese Breast Cancer Society 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Junichi Kurebayashi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Reiki Nishimura
    • 2
  • Katsuhiro Tanaka
    • 1
    • 2
  • Norio Kohno
    • 2
  • Masafumi Kurosumi
    • 2
  • Takuya Moriya
    • 2
  • Yoshinari Ogawa
    • 2
  • Tetsuya Taguchi
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Breast and Thyroid SurgeryKawasaki Medical SchoolKurashiki, OkayamaJapan
  2. 2.The Tumor Marker Study Croup of the Japanese Breast Cancer SocietyJapan

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