What is the role of lab studies in the management of gastric cancer?

Updated: May 21, 2019
  • Author: Elwyn C Cabebe, MD; Chief Editor: N Joseph Espat, MD, MS, FACS  more...
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Answer

The goal of obtaining laboratory studies is to assist in determining optimal therapy. Useful studies may include the following:

  • A complete blood cell count (CBC) can identify anemia, which is present in approximately 30% of patients and may be caused by bleeding, liver dysfunction, or poor nutrition
  • Electrolyte panels and liver function tests also are essential to better characterize the patient's clinical state
  • Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is increased in 45-50% of cases
  • Cancer antigen (CA) 19-9 is elevated in about 20% of cases

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