Background. Serum carcinoembryonic antigen (highly specific) and carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (highly sensitive) have been used as tumour markers for pancreatobiliary caners. A novel urine tumour marker, diacetylspermine, was compared with the two conventional serum tumour markers in 125 patients with pancreatobiliary diseases. Results. When the diagnosis of benign or malignant condition was examined, the sensitivity of urine diacetylspermine (75%) was higher than that of serum carcinoembryonic antigen (44%; P = 0.048) and the same as that of serum carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (75%). The specificity of urine diacetylspermine (81%) was lower than that of serum CEA (92%) and as high as that of serum carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (80%). The efficiency of urine diacetylspermine (79%) was higher than that of serum carcinoembryonic antigen (74%) and the same as that of serum carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (79%). Conclusion. These results suggest that urine diacetylspermine is a marker for pancreatobiliary carcinoma, which is as highly sensitive and specific as serum carbohydrate antigen 19-9.
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