ASCO 2006 update of recommendations for the use of tumor markers in gastrointestinal cancer
For colorectal cancer, it is recommended that carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) be ordered preoperatively, if it would assist in staging and surgical planning. Postoperative CEA levels should be performed every 3 months for stage II and III disease for at least 3 years if the patient is a potential candidate for surgery or chemotherapy of metastatic disease. CEA is the marker of choice for monitoring the response of metastatic disease to systemic therapy. Data are insufficient to recommend the routine use of p53, ras, thymidine synthase, dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase, thymidine phosphorylase, microsatellite instability, 18q loss of heterozygosity, or deleted in colon cancer (DCC) protein in the management of patients with colorectal cancer. For pancreatic cancer, CA 19-9 can be measured every 1 to 3 months for patients with locally advanced or metastatic disease receiving active therapy. Elevations in serial CA 19-9 determinations suggest progressive disease but confirmation with other studies should be sought. New markers and new evidence to support the use of the currently reviewed markers will be evaluated in future updates of these guidelines.