Perioperative CA19-9 levels can predict stage and survival in patients with resectable pancreatic adenocarcinoma

Cristina R. Ferrone, Dianne M. Finkelstein, Sarah P. Thayer, Alona Muzikansky, Carlos Fernandez-Del Castillo, Andrew L. Warshaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

400 Scopus citations


Purpose: Different prognostic factors stratify patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma. The purpose of this study was to determine whether preoperative CA19-9 levels can predict stage of disease or survival and whether a change in preoperative to postoperative CA19-9 or the postoperative CA19-9 predicts overall survival. Patients and Methods: Four hundred twenty-four consecutive patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma underwent resection between January 1, 1985 and January 1, 2004. Of the patients with a bilirubin less than 2 mg/dL, 176 had preoperative CA19-9 values, and 111 had pre-and postoperative CA19-9 values. Survival was measured from the first postoperative CA19-9 level measured (median, 39 days) until death or last follow-up. A multivariate failure time model was fit using clinical, operative, pathologic, and adjuvant treatment characteristics, and a categorization was defined by the values and changes in CA19-9 before and after surgery. Results: Of the 176 patients, 128 (73%) had T3 lesions, and 99 (56%) had N1 disease; 138 patients (78%) underwent pancreaticoduodenectomy. Median preoperative CA19-9 levels were lower in N0 patients compared with patients with positive nodes (nine v 164 U/mL, respectively; nonparametric P = .06) and in T1/T2 patients versus T3 patients (41 v 162 U/mL, respectively; P = .03). Median follow-up time (n = 111) was 1.8 years (range, 1 to 12.9 years), with overall actuarial 1-, 3-, and 5-year survival rates of 70%, 36%, and 30%, respectively. Significant predictors of survival on multivariate analysis included a decrease in CA19-9 (P = .0005), negative lymph nodes (P = .001), lower T stage (P = .0008), and postoperative CA19-9 less than 200 U/mL (P = .0007). Conclusion: In patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma, preoperative CA19-9 correlates with stage of disease. Both a postoperative decrease in CA19-9 and a postoperative CA19-9 value of less than 200 U/mL are strong independent predictors of survival, even after adjusting for stage. CA19-9 levels should be included in a patient's perioperative care and should be considered for prognostic nomograms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2897-2902
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number18
StatePublished - Jun 20 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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