Serum-tumour markers are molecules that are used frequently for diagnosis and treatment of malignancy. The present paper informs the reader about the use and limitations of common serum-tumour markers. We describe the use of serum-tumour markers for screening, diagnosis, staging and prognostic evaluation, detection of recurrence and treatment monitoring. Overall, the common serum-tumour markers are poorly sensitive and specific for screening in an asymptomatic population. The benefits of an improved prognosis by early detection should be weighted to the cost of substantial overdiagnosis and over-treatment. Serum-tumour markers often support the diagnostic process and give useful prognostic information. However, at present serum-tumour markers are above all applicable for treatment monitoring and detection of recurrence.

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Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Klinische Chemie en Laboratoriumgeneeskunde
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Keuren, J. F. W., Thomas, C., Sweep, F., & Boonstra, J. (2010). Application of tumour markers in clinical practice [Toepassing van tumormarkers in de klinische praktijk]. Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Klinische Chemie en Laboratoriumgeneeskunde, 35(1), 2–6. Retrieved from