Gastric juice carcino-embryonic antigen estimation. A useful additional test in the diagnosis of gastric carcinoma?
There is a high incidence of gastric carcinoma in the coloured population of the Western Cape. Diagnostic tests other than barium meal examination or gastroscopy were investigated. In this study 50 patients were assessed and grouped according to the gastroscopic and histological findings. Twenty-five patients with gastric carcinoma and 25 with benign gastric ulcer and/or chronic atrophic gastritis and/or intestinal metaplasia were tabulated. The gastric juice and plasma carcino-embryonic antigen (CEA) levels were evaluated and compared in the two groups. The gastric juice CEA level was more useful than the plasma CEA level as an aid in diagnosing malignant gastric lesions. No correlation was evident between CEA values and the extent of the gastric carcinoma and or histological typing. An elevated gastric juice CEA level was an additional aid in diagnosing gastric carcinoma. Markedly elevated values may also identify the high-risk patient who is prone to develop gastric carcinoma.