CA 19-9 in pancreatic cancer screening

Paul Moayyedi

What is the role of cancer antigen (CA) 19-9 in screening for pancreatic cancer?

Paul Moayyedi: Because pancreatic cancer mercifully is still very rare in the general population, the positive predictive value [of CA 19-9] is actually very poor. It is not a useful screening test at this stage.

Of course, as you alluded to in the last question [see Screening tests for pancreatic cancer], if we can find a biomarker that is more sensitive and specific, then perhaps that will change in the future. As of now, we would not recommend screening the general population.

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