, Volume 22, Issue 7, pp 827-831

Preoperative serum levels of c-erbB-2 do not seem to be useful in management of patients with rectal cancer

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Abstract

Background and aim

Soluble c-erbB-2 oncoprotein has been proven as a useful marker in the management of breast cancer patients, but its value in diagnostics and follow-up of colorectal cancer patients remains controversial. The aim of this study was to evaluate the usefulness of serum c-erbB-2 monitoring in diagnostics and prediction of disease outcome in rectal cancer patients.

Materials and methods

Serum samples from 88 patients with rectal adenocarcinoma before surgery and from 41 healthy controls were tested for the presence of c-erbB-2 oncoprotein by ELISA, and the patients were followed up for at least 5 years after the surgery.

Results

Preoperative serum c-erbB-2 levels were significantly higher in stage IV patients than in healthy controls (P<0.001) and did not show correlation with preoperative CEA levels. Elevated preoperative serum c-erbB-2 levels showed relatively high specificity (88%) and low sensitivity (44%) in the diagnosis of rectal cancer. Elevated preoperative oncoprotein levels were predictive neither for overall survival nor for development of local recurrence/distant metastases.

Conclusion

Although preoperative serum c-erbB-2 levels were significantly higher in rectal cancer patients than in healthy controls, the soluble c-erbB-2 does not seem to be useful in the diagnosis of rectal cancer due to its low sensitivity. Preoperative serum levels of this oncoprotein were predictive neither for overall survival nor for local recurrence/distant metastases in rectal cancer patients.