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Tumor Markers


Tumor markers (also called biomarkers) are substances found in the blood, urine, or tissues that are produced by tumor cells or by other cells in the body in response to cancer or certain benign conditions.

Tumor markers can indicate the presence of cancer. Different tumor markers are present for different types of cancer, but the levels of the same tumor marker can vary in different cancer types (see CA125 in image below).

The ideal marker would be a "blood test" for cancer in which a positive result would occur only in patients with malignancy, one that would correlate with stage and response to treatment and that was easily and reproducibly measured. No tumor marker now available has met this ideal. A few markers are depicted below.


Image Reprint from National Cancer Center website: provided by META Corporation Japan

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