Diagnostic value of carbohydrate antigens in supernatants and sediments of pleural effusions

Daniela Terracciano, Claudia Mazzarella, Marcellino Cicalese, Sonia Galzerano, Gianfranco Apostolico, Angelina Di Carlo, Angela Mariano, Ciriaco Cecere, Vincenzo Macchia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A panel of tumour markers including carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), carbohydrate antigen (Ca)15-3, Ca125 and Ca19-9 were measured in the lysate of sediments and in the supernatants of pleural effusions of patients with benign and malignant disease. The tumour markers were also measured in the serum of the same patients. Of these patients, 32 had benign diseases (12 trasudative effusions associated with cirrhosis and 20 with non-malignant exudates: 12 pleuritis and 8 other inflammations) and 103 had malignant effusions (37 breast cancers, 29 lung cancers, 10 ovary cancers, 6 kidney cancers, 11 mesotheliomas and 10 lymphomas). We showed the highest level of CEA in pleural effusions of lung cancer followed by that in pleural effusions of breast cancer; whereas Ca15-3 was very high in the pleural effusions of breast and lung cancer. Concerning the lysate of sediment, CEA was high in the pleural effusions of patients with lung cancer and Ca15-3 in those of patients with breast cancer. The other markers are much less useful. For the remaining tumours, none of the markers tested appear to aid in the diagnosis of disease. In conclusion, our data suggest that the combined determination of tumour markers on supernatants and sediments of pleural effusion may provide additional information on the nature of pleural effusion, especially for cases with negative cytology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-471
Number of pages7
JournalOncology Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2010


  • Carbohydrate antigen 125
  • Carbohydrate antigen 15-3
  • Carcinoembryonic antigen
  • Pleural effusions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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