Pancreatic cancer

What is CA 19-9?

The CA 19-9 is a tumor marker that is used along with other tests and procedures to help detect and diagnose cancer, monitor a person's response to treatment, and detect a recurrence. CA 19-9 levels are high in 70% to 90% of people with advanced pancreatic cancer, but high levels can also be due to a number of other conditions such as colorectal cancer, lung cancer, gallbladder cancer, gallstones, pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis and liver disease. Healthy people often have small amounts of CA 19-9 as well.

If CA 19-9 is elevated, your doctor may recommend additional tests, such as an CT scan, ultrasound, MRI, ERCP, and/or a biopsy.

Last updated on 05-01-20

Can CA 19-9 be consistently increased in a person without cancer?

Yes. Cases of people with long lasting high levels of CA 19-9 with no evidence of cancer have been described in the medical literature. One common cause of highly elevated CA 19-9, not due to cancer, is cholestasis. Click here to visit MedlinePlus and learn more about cholestasis. Other reported cases have been due to interstitial pulmonary fibrosis, diabetes, endometriosis, H. pylori infection, and ruptured epidermoid cyst. Medications may also play a role in elevated CA 19-9. People with high levels of CA 19-9 and no signs of cancer, benefit from careful monitoring. Talk with your doctor about setting a plan for follow-up.

Last updated on 05-01-20

Name: Pancreatic Cancer Action Network 2141 Rosecrans Ave, Suite 7000
El Segundo, CA, 90245, United States
Phone: 310-725-0025 Toll Free: 877-272-6226 Fax : 310-725-0029 Email: Url:
Name: Pancreatic Cancer UK 6th Floor Westminster Tower 3 Albert Embankment
London SE1 7SP, United Kingdom
Phone: +44 (0)20 3535 7090 Email: Url:
Name: National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation NPCF P.O. Box 1848
Longmont, CO, 80502, United States
Toll Free: 800-859-NPCF (6723) Fax : 855-859-HOPE (4673) Email: Url:

Note, these links are external searches against the National Laboratory of Medicine's drug database. You may need to adjust the search if there are no results found.

Drug Name Generic Name
Infugem gemcitabine ready-to-use
ONIVYDE irinotecan liposome injection
Abraxane Paclitaxel protein-bound particles
olaparib Lynparza

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