Background: In non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with preoperative high serum carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) level, patients with a persistently high serum CEA level after surgery have been reported to have a poor prognosis. In addition, in other cancers, the post/preoperative serum CEA ratio has been reported as a useful parameter. Materials and
Methods: We enrolled 123 NSCLC patients with preoperative high CEA levels (≥5 ng/mL) who underwent curative surgery between 2004 and 2011. Prognostic significance of postoperative serum CEA level and the CEA ratio was examined.
Results: The 5-year survival of patients with persistently high serum CEA level after surgery was poor. On the other hand, patients with normal postoperative serum CEA levels had significant favorable prognosis. The patients with CEA ratio>1 had poor prognosis, however the number was only 7 (5.7%). The 5-year survival rates of patients with other subgroup based on the CEA ratio (0.5≥CEA ratio and 0.5≤CEA ratio≤1) was similar. Multivariate analysis revealed prognostic significance for the postoperative serum CEA level but not the CEA ratio.
Conclusions: For NSCLC patients with preoperative high serum CEA level, their postoperative serum CEA levels is a more significant prognostic factor than the post/preoperative serum CEA ratio.