The CA 19-9 test contains 1 test with 1 biomarker.
Description: The cancer antigen 19-9 test screens for a protein that exists on the surface of certain cancer cells. The CA 19-9 test can be used to measure the level of these proteins in the blood and is useful as a tumor marker.
Also Known As: Carbohydrate Antigen (CA) 19-9 Test, Cancer Antigen 19-9 Test, Cancer Antigen (CA) 19-9, Carbohydrate Antigen 19-9 Test
Collection Method: Blood Draw
Specimen Type: Serum
Test Preparation: No preparation required
Average Processing Time: 2 to 3 days
When is a CA 19-9 test ordered?
When a person has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer or has signs and symptoms that could indicate pancreatic cancer, CA 19-9 may be ordered. Early warning signs and symptoms can be vague and ambiguous.
If CA 19-9 levels are initially increased in pancreatic cancer, a series of CA 19-9 tests may be conducted to assess response during therapy and on a frequent basis after treatment to assist detect recurrence.
When a healthcare practitioner suspects bile duct cancer in a person with a bile duct obstruction, CA 19-9 may be prescribed. CA 19-9 levels can spike due to non-cancerous reasons of bile duct obstruction, but they drop once the blockage is addressed. In these circumstances, re-checking CA 19-9 levels should be done at least a week or two after the blockage has been cleared.
What does a CA 19-9 blood test check for?
The protein cancer antigen 19-9 is found on the surface of some cancer cells. CA 19-9 does not cause cancer; rather, it is emitted by tumor cells and can be discovered in blood and other bodily fluids by laboratory tests. The level of CA19-9 is measured in this test.
Because CA 19-9 can be tested in the blood, it can be used as a tumor marker to track the progression of cancer. CA 19-9 levels are high in 70% to 95% of persons with advanced pancreatic cancer.
CA 19-9 levels may also be elevated in cancers of the gallbladder and bile ducts, colorectal cancer, gastric cancers, ovarian cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer, pancreatitis, thyroid disease, and liver disease, among other cancers, conditions, and diseases. CA 19-9 is found in trace levels in the blood of healthy humans. CA 19-9 cannot be utilized for screening or diagnosis by itself because it is not specific for pancreatic cancer.
Lab tests often ordered with a CA 19-9 test:
- Carcinoembryonic Antigen
- Hepatic Function Panel
- Tumor Markers
Conditions where a CA 19-9 test is recommended:
- Pancreatic Cancer
- Colorectal Cancer
- Gastric Cancers
- Lung Cancer
- Ovarian Cancer
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Liver Cancer
- Thyroid Disease
- Liver Disease
How does my health care provider use a CA 19-9 test?
The CA 19-9 test, along with other tests like carcinoembryonic antigen, bilirubin, and/or a liver panel, can be used to evaluate and monitor someone who has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and is having treatment.
CA 19-9 can only be utilized as a tumor marker if it is produced in large amounts by the malignancy. CA 19-9 may be ordered to help evaluate and monitor persons with bile duct cancer because it is high in roughly 65 percent of those with this type of cancer.
The CA 19-9 test is insufficiently sensitive and specific to be used as a cancer screening test. Because non-cancerous diseases can induce elevated CA 19-9 levels, it is not yet effective for detection or diagnosis. Researchers are still looking at markers that can be used alone or in combination with CA 19-9 to help diagnose and screen for pancreatic cancer in its early stages, when it is most curable.
What do my CA 19-9 test results mean?
Healthy persons have low levels of CA 19-9, although numerous illnesses that affect the liver or pancreas can induce transitory spikes.
People with pancreatic cancer, other malignancies, and a variety of other diseases and ailments may have moderate to high levels. CA 19-9 levels are higher in cancers of the exocrine pancreas. This cancer develops in the tissues that manufacture food-digesting enzymes, as well as in the ducts that transport those enzymes to the small intestine. This kind of pancreatic cancer accounts for approximately 95% of all pancreatic cancers.
CA 19-9 levels that rise and then diminish over time may indicate that the treatment is functioning and/or that the malignancy was successfully removed during surgery. Levels that stay high or rise over time could suggest that treatment isn't working and/or that the cancer is reoccurring.
We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.