General Tumor, Cancer, Carcinoma Markers




Tumor markers are substances found in the blood, urine or body tissues that can be elevated in cancer. There are many different tumor markers. They are used in oncology to help determine the presence of cancer. An elevated level of a tumor marker can indicate cancer, however there can often also be other causes of the elevation.


Tumor markers can be produced directly by the tumor or by non-tumor cells as a response to the presence of a tumor. Tumor markers can be used in screening programs, such as screening for elevated levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA) to indicate possible prostate cancer. Tumor markers are also used to monitor patients for cancer return. Tumor markers can be classified in two groups: Cancer-specific markers and tissue-specific markers.




1G12 antigen

  • the detection of 1G12 antigen on PBMC of patients may be useful for early diagnosis of cancers. PMID: 2622063

AFP (alpha-fetoprotein)

  • serial serum determination of alpha FP may be useful as a marker and prognostic indicator of endodermal sinus tumor. PMID: 6198243

AGR2 protein,

  • a novel potential cancer marker, using proteomics technologies. PMID: 17022460


  • The effective concentration of albumin below 30 g/liter and albumin binding reserve below 70% can be regarded as a prognostically unfavorable sign indicating more extensive dissemination of the tumor process. PMID: 15662465

  • Measurement of albumin levels in BWF could be a useful additional diagnostic tool to differentiate malignant from non-malignant lung diseases. Moreover, the combined measurement of CEA in serum and albumin in BWF could be of aid in the follow-up of lung cancer patients. PMID: 15646839

AMACR (alpha-Methylacyl-CoA racemase)

  • potentially an important tumor marker for several cancers and their precursor lesions, especially those linked to high-fat diets. PMID: 12131161

  • potentially an important tumor marker, particularly for prostate and colon cancer. PMID: 16082251


  • positivity in greater than 10% of tumour cells is certainly indicative, but not absolutely diagnostic, of a metastatic origin of malignant effusions. PMID: 1866206


  • common tumor marker. PMID: 16830373

  • a nonspecific tumor-associated antigen that by itself does not allow an organ correlation of malignancies of the gastrointestinal tract, breast, and lung. PMID: 3864534

Calam 27

  • can help to confirm the cytodiagnoses in cases with carcinomatous effusions. PMID: 2042433

Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA)

  • a member of a family of cell surface glycoproteins that are produced in excess in essentially all human colon carcinomas and in a high proportion of carcinomas at many other sites. PMID: 2702691

Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA)

  • a tumor marker that is overexpressed in many human cancers and functions in vitro as a homotypic intercellular adhesion molecule. PMID: 9151695


  • but not CD146, mRNA expression is increased in cancer patients with metastatic disease, specifically with bone metastasis. PMID: 16914572


  • may prove to be useful in the further characterization of cancers. PMID: 16823897

Creatine kinase isoenzyme BB (CK-BB)

  • found in the serum of patients with various types of cancer. PMID: 455680

Chromogranin A (CgA)

  • an important new tool for the endocrinologist in the diagnosis and management of patients with endocrine and neuroendocrine tumors. PMID: 2070778


  • may be a valuable adjunct marker in the diagnosis and monitoring of neuroendocrine carcinomas. PMID: 3359901

Cystatin C

  • a suitable marker of glomerular function in children with cancer. PMID: 15258844 


  • urine diacetylspermine is a useful tumor marker in hepatocellular carcinoma, lung cancer and gynecologic malignancy as well as pancreatobiliary carcinoma. PMID: 15796046, PMID: 15796045


  • Qualitative analysis of DNA may be needed if plasma nucleic acids are to be used as a diagnostic tool in cancer screening. PMID: 15539466

  • free-circulating DNA can be detected in cancer patients compared with disease-free individuals, and suggests a new, noninvasive approach for early detection of cancer. PMID: 17108217

  • Analysis of plasma DNA using this targeted panel could be a valuable noninvasive test and a useful tool to monitor disease progression without assessing the tumor. PMID: 12704670


  • could be used as an early tumor marker detecting benign disease. PMID: 12104076

FAS (fatty acid synthase)

  • associated with certain cancers and therefore is a putative tumor marker. PMID: 15500005


  • the extra-domain B of fibronectin is a marker of tumor angiogenesis. PMID: 15134574

GSH (glutathione)

  • circulating GSH could have a clinical relevance as a surrogate marker of GST activity in tumour tissue. PMID: 12706373

HDC (Histidine decarboxylase)

  • has been suggested as a new marker for neuroendocrine differentiation, inflammatory pathologies and several leukemia and highly malignant forms of cancer, such as melanoma and small cell lung carcinoma. PMID: 16328055

Homocysteine (Hcy)

  • Serum Hcy may be a potentially useful tumor marker to monitor tumor activity. PMID: 12031593


  • may play a complex role in murine mammary tumorigenesis and subsequent mammary disease. PMID: 2542692


  • a risk factor for cancer and a new potential tumor marker. PMID: 12104077

Intestinal trefoil factor (ITF)

  • a marker of intestinal differentiation that may also play a role in cancer cell biology by inhibiting cell adhesion, promoting cell invasion, and blocking apoptosis. PMID: 12006524


  • a cell cycle and tumor growth marker, which can be readily detected using immunocytochemistry methods. PMID: 1666669


  • serum laminin level is potentially useful in the diagnosis and monitoring of certain cancers. PMID: 1525955


  • first detected in the serum of a breast cancer patient in 1978, was also found in the sera of several malignancies and has been proposed as a potential tumor marker. PMID: 1973716

Metallopanstimulin (MPS)

  • a 9.5-kDal subunit "zinc finger" protein which is expressed in a wide variety of actively proliferating cells and tumor tissues. PMID: 8694540


  • may be a potential early marker of migrating and circulating carcinoma cells. PMID: 15583799


  • overexpression is considered to be the most sensitive and specific marker of invasive carcinoma. PMID: 15816444

NSE (neuron-specific enolase)

  • an important tumor marker for both clinical medicine and basic research. PMID: 6349546


  • tumor marker PKM2 plays a general role in caspase-independent cell death of tumor cells and thereby defines this glycolytic enzyme as a novel target for cancer therapy development. PMID: 17308100

PP11 (placental protein 11)

  • can act as a tumor marker because of its specific association with various forms of cancer. PMID: 2350438

PS (phosphatidylserine)

  • an abundant and accessible marker of tumor vasculature and could be used for tumor imaging and therapy. PMID: 12459374

RARbeta2 (Retinoic acid receptor beta2)

  • a tumor suppressor gene frequently hypermethylated in several human neoplasms. PMID: 15217932

Ras Oncogene

  • has been identified in the tissues of a wide variety of cancers and is not a marker which is specific for any single cancer. PMID: 3550156


  • a useful molecular adjunct to cytology in the differential diagnosis of malignant versus benign ascites. PMID: 14555519

Sialic Acid

  • a tumor marker with poor specificity that grossly relates with the tumor size. PMID: 2781072


  • plasma sialyltransferase is significantly elevated in patients with a variety of cancers. Plasma sialyltransferase determination may be useful in the followup of patients with a variety of cancers. PMID: 3390843

  • Plasma sialyltransferase was a better marker for breast and lung cancer. CEA was a good marker for colon cancer. PMID: 6599115


  • a tumor marker with a high specificity to adenocarcinoma of the reproductive organs. PMID: 1972688



  • a new human serum tumor marker which, measured alone or in combination with other well established markers, may improve the diagnosis and/or clinical management of malignant disease. PMID: 1746895


  • a critical enzyme responsible for continuous cell growth, is repressed in most somatic cells except proliferating progenitor cells and activated lymphocytes, and activated in approximately 85% of human cancer tissues. PMID: 12757980


  • has previously been reported to display elevated expression during tumor angiogenesis and neoangiogenesis. PMID: 15021905


  • a potentially suitable tracer for tumor therapy evaluation. PMID: 15982572

TPA (tissue polypeptide antigen)

  • may be useful in the identification and evaluation of cancer patients. PMID: 6201629

TSA (Total serum sialic acid)

  • although TSA and TSA/TP are not specific they are however, sensitive markers regarding detection of malignancy and useful in monitoring cancer progression and/or recurrent while evaluating the efficacy of various cancer therapies. PMID: 8300142

Tumor M2-PK

  • Circulating tumour M2-pyruvate kinase is more commonly elevated in oesophageal, gastric and colorectal cancer patients than conventional tumour markers. PMID: 17301655