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High CA 19-9 (Carbohydrate antigen) in a blood test

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High CA 19-9 (Carbohydrate antigen) in a blood test
Last update: 17/06/2021

What is a high CA 19-9 (Carbohydrate antigen) in a blood test called?

  • High CA 19-9

What is the normal CA 19-9 (Carbohydrate antigen) in a blood test?

If you need to know which are the CA 19-9 (Carbohydrate antigen) reference ranges or you require more information about CA 19-9 (Carbohydrate antigen) in a blood test, you can visit normal CA 19-9 (Carbohydrate antigen) in a blood test.

What does a high CA 19-9 (Carbohydrate antigen) mean?

CA 19-9 is a gastrointestinal cancer associated antigen.

Higher serum level is often found in in patients with pancreatic (80%), hepatobiliary (67%), gastric (40% to 50%), hepatocellular (30% to 40%), and colorectal (30%) cancer.

It may be high also in benign gastrointestinal diseases such as pancreatitis, cirrhosis or cholangitis.

The CA 19-9 test is helpful for detection of cancer recurrence. Elevated or increasing CA 19-9 concentrations may indicate recurrence of cancer before radiographic or clinical findings by 1 to 7 months.

  • Moderate CA 19-9 (Carbohydrate Antigen) increase (37 - 120 kU/l in adults):

    A moderate CA 19-9 increase in the blood may be a sign of a malignant cancer or a benign gastrointestinal disease.

    Some patients (10% to 20%) with pancreatitis and other benign gastrointestinal diseases have elevated concentrations up to 120 kU/L. It may be also a moderate CA 19-9 increase in case of other benign diseases such as cholangitis, hepatitis, liver cirrhosis or primary biliary cholangitis.

    More than 67% of patients with resectable (able to be removed by surgery) and 87% of those with unresectable pancreatic cancer have elevated CA 19-9 values.

  • Marked CA 19-9 (Carbohydrate Antigen) increase (120 - 1000 kU/l in adults):

    A marked CA 19-9 increase in successive blood tests is with a high probability a sign of malignant cancer (pancreatic, liver, colorectal, etc.). A marked CA 19-9 elevation is not common in benign diseases.

    For example, in 90% of pancreatic cancer CA 19-9 levels are higher than 300 kU/l.

    A visit to your doctor is recommended. He will explain you the results and the next steps.

  • Severe CA 19-9 (Carbohydrate Antigen) increase (> 1000 kU/l in adults):

    A severe CA 19-9 increase in the blood suggests a cancer metastasis (usually from a primary pancreatic tumor) with a poor prognosis.

Which factors can raise the CA 19-9 (Carbohydrate antigen) in a blood test?

There are some health circumstances or drugs than can raise the CA 19-9 (Carbohydrate Antigen) in a blood test:

  • Pregnancy
  • Menstruation
  • Drugs
    • Murine Monoclonal Antibody

Which diseases can raise your CA 19-9 (Carbohydrate antigen) in a blood test?

The most common diseases why the CA 19-9 (Carbohydrate Antigen) can be higher than normal are:

  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Gastric cancer
  • Gallbladder cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Rectal cancer
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cholangitis
  • Cholestasis
  • Cholecystitis

What can I do to lower the CA 19-9 (Carbohydrate antigen) in a blood test?

CA 19-9 is commonly used as a tumor marker. The best way to reduce the CA 19-3 level in the blood is by treating the underlying cancer disease.

Where can I find more information about CA 19-9 (Carbohydrate antigen) in a blood test?

You can visit our pages about:

Which values are considered a high CA 19-9 (Carbohydrate antigen) in a blood test?

The following values are considered to be above the normal range:

IMPORTANT: These levels are expressed in kU/l. They are an example of a healthy non-smoker man/woman of about 40 years old with no known disease and not taking any medication. The ranges can be different depending on the laboratory or on your personal circumstances.

CA 19-9
Moderate CA 19-9 increase
38 kU/l39 kU/l40 kU/l41 kU/l42 kU/l43 kU/l44 kU/l45 kU/l
46 kU/l47 kU/l48 kU/l49 kU/l50 kU/l51 kU/l52 kU/l53 kU/l
54 kU/l55 kU/l56 kU/l57 kU/l58 kU/l59 kU/l60 kU/l61 kU/l
62 kU/l63 kU/l64 kU/l65 kU/l66 kU/l67 kU/l68 kU/l69 kU/l
70 kU/l71 kU/l72 kU/l73 kU/l74 kU/l75 kU/l76 kU/l77 kU/l
78 kU/l79 kU/l80 kU/l81 kU/l82 kU/l83 kU/l84 kU/l85 kU/l
86 kU/l87 kU/l88 kU/l89 kU/l90 kU/l91 kU/l92 kU/l93 kU/l
94 kU/l95 kU/l96 kU/l97 kU/l98 kU/l99 kU/l100 kU/l101 kU/l
102 kU/l103 kU/l104 kU/l105 kU/l106 kU/l107 kU/l108 kU/l109 kU/l
110 kU/l111 kU/l112 kU/l113 kU/l114 kU/l115 kU/l116 kU/l117 kU/l
118 kU/l119 kU/l120 kU/l     
Marked CA 19-9 increase
121 kU/l122 kU/l123 kU/l124 kU/l125 kU/l126 kU/l127 kU/l128 kU/l
129 kU/l130 kU/l131 kU/l132 kU/l133 kU/l134 kU/l135 kU/l136 kU/l
137 kU/l138 kU/l139 kU/l140 kU/l141 kU/l142 kU/l143 kU/l144 kU/l
145 kU/l146 kU/l147 kU/l148 kU/l149 kU/l150 kU/l151 kU/l152 kU/l
153 kU/l154 kU/l155 kU/l156 kU/l157 kU/l158 kU/l159 kU/l160 kU/l
161 kU/l162 kU/l163 kU/l164 kU/l165 kU/l166 kU/l167 kU/l168 kU/l
169 kU/l170 kU/l171 kU/l172 kU/l173 kU/l174 kU/l175 kU/l176 kU/l
177 kU/l178 kU/l179 kU/l180 kU/l181 kU/l182 kU/l183 kU/l184 kU/l
185 kU/l186 kU/l187 kU/l188 kU/l189 kU/l190 kU/l191 kU/l192 kU/l
193 kU/l194 kU/l195 kU/l196 kU/l197 kU/l198 kU/l199 kU/l200 kU/l
201 kU/l202 kU/l203 kU/l204 kU/l205 kU/l206 kU/l207 kU/l208 kU/l
209 kU/l210 kU/l211 kU/l212 kU/l213 kU/l214 kU/l215 kU/l216 kU/l
217 kU/l218 kU/l219 kU/l220 kU/l221 kU/l222 kU/l223 kU/l224 kU/l
225 kU/l226 kU/l227 kU/l228 kU/l229 kU/l230 kU/l231 kU/l232 kU/l
233 kU/l234 kU/l235 kU/l236 kU/l237 kU/l238 kU/l239 kU/l240 kU/l
241 kU/l242 kU/l243 kU/l244 kU/l245 kU/l246 kU/l247 kU/l248 kU/l
249 kU/l250 kU/l251 kU/l252 kU/l253 kU/l254 kU/l255 kU/l256 kU/l
257 kU/l258 kU/l259 kU/l260 kU/l261 kU/l262 kU/l263 kU/l264 kU/l
265 kU/l266 kU/l267 kU/l268 kU/l269 kU/l270 kU/l271 kU/l272 kU/l
273 kU/l274 kU/l275 kU/l276 kU/l277 kU/l278 kU/l279 kU/l280 kU/l
281 kU/l282 kU/l283 kU/l284 kU/l285 kU/l286 kU/l287 kU/l288 kU/l
289 kU/l290 kU/l291 kU/l292 kU/l293 kU/l294 kU/l295 kU/l296 kU/l
297 kU/l298 kU/l299 kU/l300 kU/l301 kU/l302 kU/l303 kU/l304 kU/l
305 kU/l306 kU/l307 kU/l308 kU/l309 kU/l310 kU/l311 kU/l312 kU/l
313 kU/l314 kU/l315 kU/l316 kU/l317 kU/l318 kU/l319 kU/l320 kU/l
321 kU/l322 kU/l323 kU/l324 kU/l325 kU/l326 kU/l327 kU/l328 kU/l
329 kU/l330 kU/l331 kU/l332 kU/l333 kU/l334 kU/l335 kU/l336 kU/l
337 kU/l338 kU/l339 kU/l340 kU/l341 kU/l342 kU/l343 kU/l344 kU/l
345 kU/l346 kU/l347 kU/l348 kU/l349 kU/l350 kU/l351 kU/l352 kU/l
353 kU/l354 kU/l355 kU/l356 kU/l357 kU/l358 kU/l359 kU/l360 kU/l
361 kU/l362 kU/l363 kU/l364 kU/l365 kU/l366 kU/l367 kU/l368 kU/l
369 kU/l370 kU/l371 kU/l372 kU/l373 kU/l374 kU/l375 kU/l376 kU/l
377 kU/l378 kU/l379 kU/l380 kU/l381 kU/l382 kU/l383 kU/l384 kU/l
385 kU/l386 kU/l387 kU/l388 kU/l389 kU/l390 kU/l391 kU/l392 kU/l
393 kU/l394 kU/l395 kU/l396 kU/l397 kU/l398 kU/l399 kU/l400 kU/l
401 kU/l402 kU/l403 kU/l404 kU/l405 kU/l406 kU/l407 kU/l408 kU/l
409 kU/l410 kU/l411 kU/l412 kU/l413 kU/l414 kU/l415 kU/l416 kU/l
417 kU/l418 kU/l419 kU/l420 kU/l421 kU/l422 kU/l423 kU/l424 kU/l
425 kU/l426 kU/l427 kU/l428 kU/l429 kU/l430 kU/l431 kU/l432 kU/l
433 kU/l434 kU/l435 kU/l436 kU/l437 kU/l438 kU/l439 kU/l440 kU/l
441 kU/l442 kU/l443 kU/l444 kU/l445 kU/l446 kU/l447 kU/l448 kU/l
449 kU/l450 kU/l451 kU/l452 kU/l453 kU/l454 kU/l455 kU/l456 kU/l
457 kU/l458 kU/l459 kU/l460 kU/l461 kU/l462 kU/l463 kU/l464 kU/l
465 kU/l466 kU/l467 kU/l468 kU/l469 kU/l470 kU/l471 kU/l472 kU/l
473 kU/l474 kU/l475 kU/l476 kU/l477 kU/l478 kU/l479 kU/l480 kU/l
481 kU/l482 kU/l483 kU/l484 kU/l485 kU/l486 kU/l487 kU/l488 kU/l
489 kU/l490 kU/l491 kU/l492 kU/l493 kU/l494 kU/l495 kU/l496 kU/l
497 kU/l498 kU/l499 kU/l500 kU/l501 kU/l502 kU/l503 kU/l504 kU/l
505 kU/l506 kU/l507 kU/l508 kU/l509 kU/l510 kU/l511 kU/l512 kU/l
513 kU/l514 kU/l515 kU/l516 kU/l517 kU/l518 kU/l519 kU/l520 kU/l
521 kU/l522 kU/l523 kU/l524 kU/l525 kU/l526 kU/l527 kU/l528 kU/l
529 kU/l530 kU/l531 kU/l532 kU/l533 kU/l534 kU/l535 kU/l536 kU/l
537 kU/l538 kU/l539 kU/l540 kU/l541 kU/l542 kU/l543 kU/l544 kU/l
545 kU/l546 kU/l547 kU/l548 kU/l549 kU/l550 kU/l551 kU/l552 kU/l
553 kU/l554 kU/l555 kU/l556 kU/l557 kU/l558 kU/l559 kU/l560 kU/l
561 kU/l562 kU/l563 kU/l564 kU/l565 kU/l566 kU/l567 kU/l568 kU/l
569 kU/l570 kU/l571 kU/l572 kU/l573 kU/l574 kU/l575 kU/l576 kU/l
Medically reviewed by our Medical staff on 17/06/2021

Bibliography

  • Concise Book of Medical Laboratory Technology: Methods and Interpretations. 2nd Edition. 2015. Ramnik Sood. ISBN: 978-93-5152-333-8. Pag. 683.
  • Laboratory tests and diagnostic procedures: with nursing diagnoses. Jane Vincent Corbett, Angela Denise Banks. 8th ed. 2013. ISBN: 978-0-13-237332-6. Pag. 250.
  • Tietz. Fundamentals of Clinical Chemistry. Carl A. Burtis, Edward R. Ashwood, David e. Bruns. 6th edition. 2008. Pag 355. ISBN: 978-0-7216-3865-2.

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