False positive tumor markers: Elevation in patients with breast cancer on FAC-type chemotherapy and correlation with the development of hand-foot syndrome

L. B. Tyshler, G. M. Longton, G. K. Ellis, R. B. Livingston

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We observed that breast cancer patients on dose-intensive chemotherapy often had elevated tumor markers to the course of treatment which then normalized The objective of this study was to estimate the incidence of a "false positive" tumor marker screen and to see whether hand-foot epithelial damage (hand-foot syndrome) was correlated with such marker elevation. Data from 53 patients with high risk primary breast cancer who had undergone adjuvant or neoadjuvant 5FU-containing chemotherapy (FAC or FAC plus G-CSF) for a period of 3 to 12 months were reviewed. The relationship between tumor marker elevation and disease recurrence, regimen intensity, and the occurrence of hand-foot syndrome was examined Thirty-three of the 53 patients had elevated tumor markers in the absence of recurrent disease. The false positive rate was higher in patients who underwent FAC plus G-CSF chemotherapy than in patients who underwent FAC-chemotherapy (92% vs 55% p=.01) A false positive marker screen was associated with the occurrence of hand-foot syndrome even when the effect of regimen was accounted for by stratification (p=.01). Tumor marker screening of patients with breast cancer on this type of adjuvant chemotherapy has poor specificity for recurrent malignancy Greater dose intensity (FAC plus G-CSF vs. FAC) was associated with the higher incidence of a false positive screen, and false positive markers were additionally associated with the occurrence of hand-foot syndrome These data suggest that elevation of tumor markers may be an indicator of epithelial toxicity during chemotherapy, manifested clinically as hand-foot syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165A
JournalJournal of Investigative Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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