Comparative study of tumor markers in patients with colorectal carcinoma before and after chemotherapy

Atreyee Basu, Shashi Seth, Ashok K. Chauhan, Nupur Bansal, Kanchan Arora, Anuradha Mahaur


Background: Colorectal carcinoma (CRC), the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in US, has a rising time-trend in India. Tumour markers in CRC are extensively researched, and there’s still debate on their diagnostic and prognostic values.
Methods: In this hospital-based longitudinal study in north India, 51 male diagnosed CRC cases (pre-chemotherapy) were contrasted against 50 age and sex matched controls. Nine biomarkers: carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), prolactin (PRL), alfa feto protein (AFP), total human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), cancer antigen-125 (CA-125), serum testosterone, prostate specific antigen (PSA) and ferritin were measured by direct chemiluminescence technique. Further, follow-up was done on 47 cases after treatment with six cycles of 5-flurouracil (5-FU) and oxaliplatin.
Results: Mean serum CEA (case: 5.94±8.27 ng/mL, control: 2.5±0.79 ng/mL, P<0.05), PRL (case: 28.12±13.39 ng/mL, control: 14.24±13.13 ng/mL, P<0.0001), AFP (case: 10.9±6.65 ng/mL, control: 4.02±1.26 ng/mL, P<0.0001) levels were significantly raised in CRC cases compared to controls. On the contrary, mean testosterone level (P<0.05) was lower among the cases. After chemotherapy, the mean serum CEA (P<0.05), AFP (P<0.0001) and CA-125 (P<0.05) levels among the cases decreased significantly compared to their pretreatment levels.
Conclusions: The present study strongly indicates the role of CEA, PRL, AFP, CA-125 and testosterone as important biomarkers in male CRC patients from north India. Further, AFP, CA-125 and CEA may be used to assess the effectiveness of chemotherapy in such patients.