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A CA-50 blood test identifies cancer markers in the blood to help monitor certain cancers such as gastrointestinal tract cancer and pancreatic cancer.


CA-50 (carbohydrate or cancer antigen 50) is a broad tumour marker. A tumour market is released by cancerous cells into the blood steam. As a result detecting CA-50 in the blood can indicate you are suffering from a form of cancer such as gastrointestinal tract cancer or pancreatic.

It is most useful to determine the effectiveness of the treatment or progression of existing cancer rather than for screening for cancer as a high level can indicate other conditions such as pancreatitis, colitis and pneumonia. If your level of CA 50 increases it indicates the cancer has spread if it falls the tumour has shrunk.


The test involves a simple blood sample being taken and tested in a lab. No preparation is needed.


Testing and monitoring of pancreatic carcinoma therapy effectiveness.

The main diagnostic value of the CA 50 determination is that it is increased in patients (5-7% of the population) who are Lewis antigen-negative Le (a-b-) and do not synthesize CA 19-9 and, accordingly, do not increase in the presence of carcinoma.


Upper-level rate of CA 50 cancer antigen is 23 U/ml. An elevated level of CA 50 cancer antigen (100 U/ml and above) are found in:
  • Malignant tumors:
    • pancreatic tumors (sensitivity - 91%, specificity - 88.5%), especially CA19-9 negative;
    • colorectal cancer (sensitivity - 47%);
    • stomach cancer (sensitivity - 50%);
    • other tumors: ovaries, lungs, breast, prostate, liver.
  • Somatic pathology:
    • acute pancreatitis;
    • hepatitis, cirrhosis, cholangitis;
    • ulcer disease.


The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario. Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider of the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

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