Biochemical markers

Tumour markers are detectable substances present in a concentration suggestive of a tumour. A tumour marker is not tumour-specific, but may be secreted or shed into blood and other body fluids or expressed at the cell surface in larger quantities by malignant cells than by non-malignant cells. Tumour markers can be assayed either by measuring the concentration of marker in body fluids (usually by immunoassay) or by detecting the marker's presence on the cell surface in paraffin section or fresh biopsies (by immunohistochemistry). The potential clinical uses of tumour marker estimation are:

♦ Monitoring response to therapy

♦ Early diagnosis of relapse

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