CA 19-9 elevation

CA 19-9 is a serum antigen (monosialoganglioside) that has increased diagnostic use in the management of several malignancies, mainly of hepato-pancreatico-biliary origin. It is nonspecific, however, and can rise in both malignant and nonmalignant conditions.

Elevation of serum CA 19-9 has been associated with many conditions including the following

  • hepato-pancreatico-biliary malignancies
    • cholangiocarcinoma
      • a CA 19-9 of > 100 U/ml may have a sensitivity of 50% in diagnosing cholangiocarcinoma 3
      • when it is elevated with proven malignancy, larger unresectable tumours are generally thought to have higher levels of elevation 
    • pancreatic adenocarcinoma
      • with an upper limit of normal at 37 U/ml, the assays overall sensitivity is approximately 80% and its specificity is 90% for pancreatic adenocarcinoma 1
      • when it is elevated with proven malignancy, larger unresectable tumours are generally thought to have higher levels of elevation 5
  • other malignancies
  • nonmalignant conditions 4: the increase in generally considered to be small
    • nonmalignant obstructive jaundice: usually should go down after relief of obstruction unless there is an associated malignancy 7
    • heavy tea consumption 6
    • idiopathic with no definite cause found 4

See other tumour markers here.

History and etymology

It was initially discovered by H Koprowski and co-workers in 1980 in associated with colon and pancreatic cancer 9.


Share Article

Article Information

rID: 18081
Sections: Pathology, Gamuts
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Elevation of serum CA 19-9
  • Serum CA 19-9 elevation
  • Ca19-9 elevation
  • Cancer antigen 19-9 elevation
  • Sialylated Lewis (a) antigen elevation

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Updating… Please wait.
Loadinganimation

Alert accept

Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.