A study was carried out on serum carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and alpha-feto-protein (AFP) levels, both measured by radioimmunoassay, in 88 children with malignant solid tumours and in 26 children with nonmalignant disorders, who presented during the years 1973-77. Slightly or moderately raised CEA levels were found at presentation in 11 of 66 children with malignant tumours, in 2 others with recurrent tumours, and in 4 children with nonmalignant disorders. Raised CEA levels generally indicated advanced malignant disease, often affecting the liver, or other hepatic disorders, but were not associated with a specific tumour type. Except in the first months of life, significantly raised AFP levels were detected only in 11 patients with yolk sac-derived tumours, or hepatomas, and in one child with tyrosinosis who later developed a malignant hepatoma. Serial measurements of AFP accurately reflected the clinical response to treatment and in 2 patients indicated recurrence before this could be detected clinically.
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