To investigate the clinical significance of BFP (basic fetoprotein) in lung cancer, serum BFP was measured in 50 patients with primary lung cancer and 40 patients with other non-malignant pulmonary diseases. For comparison, various tumor markers such as CEA, SLX, CA19-9, CA125, TPA, SCC, and NSE were also measured. In 58% of the patients with primary lung cancer, BFP was positive. This rate was higher than that of CEA and SLX, but lower than that of TPA. Histologically, BFP tended to occur more frequently in small cell carcinoma and large cell carcinoma. CEA and SLX showed high specificity in adenocarcinoma, and SCC and NSE showed high specificity in squamous cell carcinoma and small cell carcinoma, respectively. BFP levels tended to be higher in the advanced stages of disease and the change of BFP levels was related to chemotherapeutic response. However this tendency was not observed in patients who did not respond to chemotherapy; this was particularly pronounced in small cell carcinoma. In the study of various tumor markers, a correlation was observed only between BFP and NSE, which suggests that these two tumor markers are valuable in combination assay. In conclusion, measurement of BFP is a useful method of monitoring the effectiveness of treatment in primary lung cancer.
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