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Laboratory Test Reference Guide

Laboratory Information

Test Name

CA 19-9

External Price (excl. GST)



Specimen Collection

Adult Specimen

Heparin (light green), SST (gold), "T-" labs SST (gold)

Paediatric Specimen

0.3 ml Heparin (light green) or Plain(red).

Test Information



Test Availability

Mon - Fri, 0800 - 1630 excl. Public Holidays

Laboratory Turnaround Time

3 days


cobas e601

Unit Of Measurement


Reference Interval

< 35 U/ml

Uncertainty Of Measurement

10 %

Diagnostic Use Or Instructions

The Choosing Wisely recommendations include the following:

Do not perform serum tumour marker tests except for the monitoring of a cancer known to produce these markers.

The DHB Shared Services

Laboratory Test Referral Guidelines have recommendations for a number of specific tumour markers. They note tumour markers are not indicated for screening of an asymptomatic low risk population, investigation of non-specific symptoms, when the probability of malignancy is low, investigation of other suspected malignancies.

The DHB Shared Services Laboratory Test Referral Guidelines note:

CA 19-9 is elevated in patients with a wide range of malignancies including pancreatic, gastric, colorectal, hepatic and ovarian. It is also elevated in non- malignant disorders such as acute and chronic liver disease, acute and chronic pancreatitis, biliary diseases, diabetes and irritable bowel syndrome. It is most widely used in monitoring pancreatic cancer but is not sufficiently sensitive to be used in screening and not selective enough to be used in diagnosis. It may provide prognostic information at time of diagnosis.

It is indicated for:

  • Patients with symptoms or signs associated with high suspicion of pancreatic cancer: progressive obstructive jaundice with   weight loss and/or pain in the abdomen or mid back
  • At diagnosis of pancreatic cancer to provide prognostic information
  • After treatment of pancreatic cancer to monitor response and detect relapse

Minimum Volume

0.1 ml heparin plasma or serum.

Electronic Information

Registration Code


HL7Mapping Code