Table 2

Diagnostic value of cytology, carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), cholesterol, and their combined use in distinguishing between 57 ascites from patients with peritoneal carcinomatosis and 73 cases without malignant involvement of the peritoneum

Predictive value (n/N)
AssaysDefinition of abnormalitySpecificity (n/N)Sensitivity (n/N)PositiveNegative
*Malignant diagnoses: “positives” only; inconclusive cytology is incorporated with “negatives”.
†Cut off point for CEA, 5 ng/ml.
‡Cut off point for cholesterol, 1.21 mmol/litre.
Cytology aloneMalignant cytology*100% (73/73)77% (44/57)100% (44/44)85% (73/86)
CEA aloneRaised CEA†97% (71/73)51% (29/57)94% (29/31)72% (71/99)
Cholesterol aloneRaised cholesterol‡96% (70/73)93% (53/57)95% (53/56)95% (70/74)
Combined CEA + cholesterolHigh concentrations of CEA† and cholesterol‡100% (73/73)49% (28/57)100% (28/28)72% (73/102)
Cytology and combined CEA + cholesterolMalignant cytology* and/or high concentration of CEA† and cholesterol‡100% (73/73)88% (50/57)100% (50/50)91% (73/80)