A new biomarker in monitoring breast cancer: CA 549

R. A. Beveridge, D. W. Chan, D. Bruzek, D. Damron, K. R. Bray, P. K. Gaur, D. S. Ettinger, R. C. Rock, S. Shurbaji, F. P. Kuhajda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Serum biomarkers are not very reliable in assessing outcome or predicting recurrence of breast cancer. Clinically, carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is widely used and is elevated in a majority of patients with metastatic breast cancer. However, it is falsely elevated in a wide range of nonmalignant conditions and correlates poorly with disease progression. We evaluated a newly described monoclonal antibody, CA 549, in an immunoradiometric assay which uses two monoclonal antibodies directed against tumor and milk fat globule membranes. CA 549 and CEA were studied in 682 patients, 331 of whom had breast diseases and 99 of whom were followed with multiple serum samples. Of 69 patients with benign breast diseases, 1.5% had elevated CA 549, 0% of 30 pregnant women had elevated CA 549, and 26% of patients with nonmalignant liver disease had CA 549 elevation. In metastatic cancer of prostate, ovary, endometrium, colon, and lung CA 549 was elevated in 12% to 50% of cases with levels < 120 U/mL. In breast cancer, CA 549 was elevated in 11% of 88 patients who received adjuvant chemotherapy and had no evidence of metastasis; in 23% of 16 patients in complete remission after chemotherapy; in 63% of 52 patients in partial remission after therapy; and in 83% of 106 patients with progression of breast cancer compared with 63% with elevated CEA (P = .001). In diseases of the breast, CA 549 has a sensitivity and specificity of 77% and 92% v 61% and 92% for CEA. Of 99 patients serially monitored with clinically documented breast cancer progression, regression, or stability of disease, CA 549 was statistically significant superior to CEA in monitoring a > 25% change in those patients with metastatic progression (P = .03). CA 549 is a new serum marker that should be control tested in prospective clinical trials alone or in conjunction with other markers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1815-1821
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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