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Tumor Markers in Common Use

A tumor marker is anything present in or produced by cancer cells or other cells of the body in response to cancer or certain benign (noncancerous) conditions that provides information about a cancer, such as how aggressive it is, whether it can be treated with a targeted therapy, or whether it is responding to treatment. See the Tumor Markers fact sheet for more information.

Listed below are tumor markers that are in common use, mainly to determine treatment or to help make a diagnosis of cancer. New tumor markers frequently become available and may not be reflected on this list.

This list does not include the many tumor markers that are tested by immunophenotyping and immunohistochemistry to help diagnose cancer and to distinguish between different types of cancer. Some tumor markers listed below are targets for targeted therapy in multiple cancers but serve as tumor markers for only a subset of cancers.

ALK gene rearrangements and overexpression

Cancer types: Non-small cell lung cancer and anaplastic large cell lymphoma
What's analyzed: Tumor
How used: To help determine treatment and prognosis

Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP)

Cancer types: Liver cancer and germ cell tumors
What's analyzed: Blood
How used: To help diagnose liver cancer and follow response to treatment; to assess stage, prognosis, and response to treatment of germ cell tumors

B-cell immunoglobulin gene rearrangement

Cancer type: B-cell lymphoma
What's analyzed: Blood, bone marrow, or tumor tissue
How used: To help in diagnosis, to evaluate effectiveness of treatment, and to check for recurrence

Beta-2-microglobulin (B2M)

Cancer types: Multiple myeloma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and some lymphomas
What's analyzed: Blood, urine, or cerebrospinal fluid
How used: To determine prognosis and follow response to treatment

Beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (Beta-hCG)

Cancer types: Choriocarcinoma and germ cell tumors
What's analyzed: Urine or blood
How used: To assess stage, prognosis, and response to treatment

Bladder Tumor Antigen (BTA)

Cancer types: Bladder cancer and cancer of the kidney or ureter
What's analyzed: Urine
How used: As surveillance with cytology and cystoscopy of patients already known to have bladder cancer

BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations

Cancer types: Ovarian and breast cancers
What's analyzed: Blood and/or tumor
How used: To determine whether treatment with a particular type of targeted therapy is appropriate

BCR-ABL fusion gene (Philadelphia chromosome)

Cancer types: Chronic myeloid leukemia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and acute myelogenous leukemia
What's analyzed: Blood or bone marrow
How used: To confirm diagnosis, predict response to targeted therapy, determine whether treatment with a particular type of targeted therapy is appropriate, and monitor disease status 

BRAF V600 mutations

Cancer types: Cutaneous melanoma, Erdheim-Chester disease, colorectal cancer, and non-small cell lung cancer
What's analyzed: Tumor
How used: To select patients who are most likely to benefit from treatment with certain targeted therapies

C-kit/CD117

Cancer types: Gastrointestinal stromal tumor, mucosal melanoma, acute myeloid leukemia, and mast cell disease
What's analyzed: Tumor, blood, or bone marrow
How used: To help in diagnosing and determining treatment 

CA15-3/CA27.29

Cancer type: Breast cancer
What's analyzed: Blood
How used: To assess whether treatment is working or if the cancer has recurred

CA19-9

Cancer types: Pancreatic, gallbladder, bile duct, and gastric cancers
What's analyzed: Blood
How used: To assess whether treatment is working

CA-125

Cancer type: Ovarian cancer
What's analyzed: Blood
How used: To help in diagnosis, assessment of response to treatment, and evaluation of recurrence

CA 27.29

Cancer type: Breast cancer
What's analyzed: Blood
How used: To detect metastasis or recurrence

Calcitonin

Cancer type: Medullary thyroid cancer
What's analyzed: Blood
How used: To aid in diagnosis, check whether treatment is working, and assess recurrence

Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA)

Cancer types: Colorectal cancer and some other cancers
What's analyzed: Blood
How used: To keep track of how well cancer treatments are working and check if cancer has come back or spread

CD20

Cancer type: Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
What's analyzed: Blood
How used: To determine whether treatment with a targeted therapy is appropriate

CD22

Cancer types: Hairy cell leukemia and B-cell neoplasms
What's analyzed: Blood and bone marrow
How used: To help in diagnosis

CD25

Cancer type: Non-Hodgkin (T-cell) lymphoma
What's analyzed: Blood
How used: To determine whether treatment with a targeted therapy is appropriate

CD30

Cancer types: Mycosis fungoides and peripheral T-cell lymphoma
What's analyzed: Tumor
How used: To determine whether treatment with a targeted therapy is appropriate

CD33

Cancer type: Acute myeloid leukemia
What's analyzed: Blood
How used: To determine whether treatment with a targeted therapy is appropriate

Chromogranin A (CgA)

Cancer type: Neuroendocrine tumors
What's analyzed: Blood
How used: To help in diagnosis, assessment of treatment response, and evaluation of recurrence

Chromosome 17p deletion

Cancer type: Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
What's analyzed: Blood
How used: To determine whether treatment with a certain targeted therapy is appropriate

Chromosomes 3, 7, 17, and 9p21

Cancer type: Bladder cancer
What's analyzed: Urine
How used: To help in monitoring for tumor recurrence 

Circulating tumor cells of epithelial origin (CELLSEARCH®)

Cancer types: Metastatic breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers
What's analyzed: Blood
How used: To inform clinical decision making, and to assess prognosis

Cytokeratin fragment 21-1

Cancer type: Lung cancer
What's analyzed: Blood
How used: To help in monitoring for recurrence

Des-gamma-carboxy prothrombin (DCP)

Cancer type: Hepatocellular carcinoma
What's analyzed: Blood
How used: To monitor the effectiveness of treatment and to detect recurrence

DPD gene mutation 

Cancer types: Breast, colorectal, gastric, and pancreatic cancers
What's analyzed: Blood
How used: To predict the risk of a toxic reaction to 5-fluorouracil therapy

EGFR gene mutation

Cancer type: Non-small cell lung cancer
What's analyzed: Tumor
How used: To help determine treatment and prognosis

Estrogen receptor (ER)/progesterone receptor (PR)

Cancer type: Breast cancer
What's analyzed: Tumor
How used: To determine whether treatment with hormone therapy and some targeted therapies is appropriate

FGFR2 and FGFR3 gene mutations

Cancer type: Bladder cancer
What's analyzed: Tumor
How used: To determine whether treatment with a certain targeted therapy is appropriate

Fibrin/fibrinogen

Cancer type: Bladder cancer
What's analyzed: Urine
How used: To monitor progression and response to treatment

FLT3 gene mutations

Cancer type: Acute myeloid leukemia
What's analyzed: Blood
How used: To determine whether treatment with certain targeted therapies is appropriate

Gastrin

Cancer type: Gastrin-producing tumor (gastrinoma)
What's analyzed: Blood
How used: To help in diagnosis, to monitor the effectiveness of treatment, and to detect recurrence

HE4

Cancer type: Ovarian cancer
What's analyzed: Blood
How used: To plan cancer treatment, assess disease progression, and monitor for recurrence

HER2/neu gene amplification or protein overexpression

Cancer types: Breast, ovarian, bladder, pancreatic, and stomach cancers
What's analyzed: Tumor
How used: To determine whether treatment with certain targeted therapies is appropriate

5-HIAA

Cancer type: Carcinoid tumors
What's analyzed: Urine
How used: To help in diagnosis and to monitor disease

IDH1 and IDH2 gene mutations

Cancer type: Acute myeloid leukemia
What's analyzed: Bone marrow and blood
How used: To determine whether treatment with certain targeted therapies is appropriate 

Immunoglobulins

Cancer types: Multiple myeloma and Waldenström macroglobulinemia
What's analyzed: Blood and urine
How used: To help diagnose disease, assess response to treatment, and look for recurrence

JAK2 gene mutation

Cancer type: Certain types of leukemia
What's analyzed: Blood and bone marrow
How used: To help in diagnosis 

KRAS gene mutation

Cancer types: Colorectal cancer and non-small cell lung cancer
What's analyzed: Tumor
How used: To determine whether treatment with a particular type of targeted therapy is appropriate

Lactate dehydrogenase

Cancer types: Germ cell tumors, lymphoma, leukemia, melanoma, and neuroblastoma
What's analyzed: Blood
How used: To assess stage, prognosis, and response to treatment

Microsatellite instability (MSI) and/or mismatch repair deficient (dMMR)

Cancer types: Colorectal cancer and other solid tumors
What's analyzed: Tumor
How used: To guide treatment and to identify those at high risk of certain cancer-predisposing syndromes

Neuron-specific enolase (NSE)

Cancer types: Small cell lung cancer and neuroblastoma
What's analyzed: Blood
How used: To help in diagnosis and to assess response to treatment

Nuclear matrix protein 22

Cancer type: Bladder cancer
What's analyzed: Urine
How used: To monitor response to treatment

PCA3 mRNA

Cancer type: Prostate cancer
What's analyzed: Urine (collected after digital rectal exam)
How used: To determine need for repeat biopsy after negative biopsy

PML/RARα fusion gene

Cancer type: Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL)
What's analyzed: Blood and bone marrow
How used: To diagnose APL, to predict response to all-trans-retinoic acid or arsenic trioxide therapy, to assess effectiveness of therapy, to monitor minimal residual disease, and to predict early relapse

Prostatic Acid Phosphatase (PAP)

Cancer type: Metastatic prostate cancer
What's analyzed: Blood
How used: To help in diagnosing poorly differentiated carcinomas

Programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1)

Cancer types: Non-small cell lung cancer, liver cancer, stomach cancer, gastroesophageal junction cancer, classical Hodgkin lymphoma, and other aggressive lymphoma subtypes
What's analyzed: Tumor
How used: To determine whether treatment with a particular type of targeted therapy is appropriate

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA)

Cancer type: Prostate cancer
What's analyzed: Blood
How used: To help in diagnosis, to assess response to treatment, and to look for recurrence

ROS1 gene rearrangement

Cancer type: Non-small cell lung cancer
What's analyzed: Tumor
How used: To determine whether treatment with a particular type of targeted therapy is appropriate 

Soluble mesothelin-related peptides (SMRP)

Cancer type: Mesothelioma
What's analyzed: Blood
How used: To monitor progression or recurrence

Somatostatin receptor

Cancer type: Neuroendocrine tumors affecting the pancreas or gastrointestinal tract (GEP-NETs)
What's analyzed: Tumor (by diagnostic imaging)
How used: To determine whether treatment with a particular type of targeted therapy is appropriate 

T-cell receptor gene rearrangement

Cancer type: T-cell lymphoma
What's analyzed: Bone marrow, tissue, body fluid, blood
How used: To help in diagnosis; sometimes to detect and evaluate residual disease

Thiopurine S-methyltransferase (TPMT) enzyme activity or TMPT genetic test

Cancer type: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia
What's analyzed: Blood and buccal (cheek) swab
How used: To predict the risk of severe bone marrow toxicity (myelosuppression) with thiopurine treatment

Thyroglobulin

Cancer type: Thyroid cancer
What's analyzed: Blood
How used: To evaluate response to treatment and to look for recurrence

UGT1A1*28 variant homozygosity

Cancer type: Colorectal cancer
What's analyzed: Blood and buccal (cheek) swab
How used: To predict toxicity from irinotecan therapy

Urine catecholamines: VMA and HVA

Cancer type: Neuroblastoma
What's analyzed: Urine
How used: To help in diagnosis

Urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) and plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI-1)

Cancer type: Breast cancer
What's analyzed: Tumor
How used: To determine aggressiveness of cancer and guide treatment 

FoundationOne® CDx (F1CDx) genomic test

Cancer type: Any solid tumor
What's analyzed: Tumor
How used: As a companion diagnostic test to determine whether treatment with a particular type of targeted therapy is appropriate

5-Protein signature (OVA1®)

Cancer type: Ovarian cancer
What's analyzed: Blood
How used: To pre-operatively assess pelvic mass for suspected ovarian cancer

 17-Gene signature (Oncotype DX GPS test®)

Cancer type: Prostate cancer
What's analyzed: Tumor
How used: To predict the aggressiveness of prostate cancer and to help manage treatment

21-Gene signature (Oncotype DX®)

Cancer type: Breast cancer
What's analyzed: Tumor
How used: To evaluate risk of distant recurrence and to help plan treatment 

46-Gene signature (Prolaris®)

Cancer type: Prostate cancer
What's analyzed: Tumor
How used: To predict the aggressiveness of prostate cancer and to help manage treatment

70-Gene signature (Mammaprint®)

Cancer type: Breast cancer
What's analyzed: Tumor
How used: To evaluate risk of recurrence

 

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