AIMS: To evaluate the clinical usefulness of CA72-4 as a serum tumour marker for endometrial carcinoma and to investigate its immunohistochemical localisation in endometrial carcinoma cells. METHODS: Serum concentrations of CA72-4 were determined in 72 patients with endometrial carcinoma. Immunohistochemical localisation of CA72-4 was investigated using the streptavidin-biotin method, using monoclonal antibodies B72.3 and CC49. RESULTS: Serum CA72-4 was increased above the cut off value in 31.9% of the patients with endometrial carcinoma. Serum CA72-4 positivity was correlated with depth of myometrial invasion, adnexal metastasis, lymphovascular space involvement, and pelvic and para-aortic lymph node metastasis. Multivariate analysis showed a significant correlation between serum CA72-4 positivity and adnexal metastasis. The serum concentrations of CA125 and CA19-9, which could be tumour markers for endometrial carcinoma, were measured at the same time. In seven of 72 patients increased concentrations of serum CA72-4 were found while those for CA125 and CA19-9 were within the normal ranges; in four of the seven patients the disease had spread beyond the uterus. Immunohistochemical positivity for CA72-4 antigen was 76.9% and occurred in the tumour cell membrane and cytoplasm. There was no significant difference in immunohistochemical positivity between patients with increased CA72-4 and those with normal CA72-4 values. CONCLUSIONS: The measurement of serum concentrations of CA 72-4 could be useful for predicting and monitoring the progress of disease-for example, extracorporeal spread.
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