In this paper the clinical usefulness of CEA and ferritin in the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer was pointed out. CEA was found to be increased in 51% of patients with pancreatic cancer; it was also abnormal in 22% of chronic pancreatitis and 31% of extra-pancreatic diseases. In patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer CEA was found to be more elevated than in those with localized tumor. CEA correlated with the age of the subjects in all material; in liver cirrhosis with IgG and in extra-pancreatic gastro-intestinal malignancies with alkaline-phosphatase. Ferritin was found to be increased in 73% of pancreatic cancer patients; it was also abnormal in 40% of chronic pancreatitis and in 38% of extra-pancreatic diseases. Patients with chronic pancreatitis studied during a relapsing phase all had elevated serum ferritin. We can conclude that neither CEA nor ferritin are useful indices of pancreatic malignancy, due to the lack of sensitivity or specificity. Both are influenced by several factors: CEA mainly by age and liver dysfunction, ferritin by the presence of an acute inflammation with cell necrosis.
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