1Department of Internal Medicine, Kashan University of Medical Sciences, Kashan, Iran.
2Department of Pathology, Kashan University of Medical Sciences, Kashan, Iran.
3Anatomical Sciences Research Center, kashan university of medical sciences
Introduction: Pleural effusion diagnosis plays an important role in determining treatment strategies. The aim of this study was to determine the diagnostic capacity of tumor markers CA 15-3 and NSE solely or in combination in differentiating the nature of pleural fluid. Methods and Materials: In this cross-sectional study we evaluated 93 patients with pleural effusions (44 malignant and 49 benign). NSE and CA 15-3 serum and pleural levels were measured simultaneously using immunoenzyme assay kits. Diagnosis was established on the basis of cytological study. Results: Sensitivity and specificity of CA 15-3 serum and pleural level measurement were 70.4%, 49.0%, and 79.5% and 49.0%, respectively. Serum NSE levels had 75.0% sensitivity and 69.4% specificity while the respective pleural figures were 75.0% and 73.5%. The combination of NSE and CA 15-3 serum and pleural levels had the highest sensitivity (93.2%), although combined serum levels had the lowest sensitivity (47.7%). With an accuracy of 74.2%, pleural levels of NSE had the highest diagnostic potential. Conclusion: Measuring NSE and CA 15-3 tumor markers is a suitable approach to distinguish the nature of pleural effusions, with NSE pleural levels demonstrating the highest diagnostic accuracy.