There is no validated clinical biomarker for disease severity or treatment response for nontuberculous mycobacterial pulmonary disease (NTM-PD). We investigated the correlation between elevated serum carbohydrate antigen (CA) 19-9 levels and NTM-PD disease activity, defined using an imaging severity score based on chest computed tomography (CT). We retrospectively examined 79 patients with NTM-PD who underwent serum CA19-9 level assessments and chest CT less than 1 month apart. NTM-PD severity was rated using a CT-based scoring system. The correlation between the CT score and serum CA19-9 levels was evaluated. Chest CT revealed nodular bronchiectasis without cavitation in most patients (78.5%). Serum CA19-9 levels were elevated in 19 (24%) patients. Serum CA19-9 levels were positively correlated with the total CT score and bronchiectasis, bronchiolitis, cavity, and consolidation subscores. Partial correlation analysis revealed a significant positive correlation between serum CA19-9 levels and CT scores for total score and bronchiectasis, bronchiolitis, cavitation, and consolidation subscores after controlling for age, sex, and BMI. Serum CA19-9 levels were positively correlated with the CT severity score for NTM-PD. Serum CA19-9 may be useful in evaluating disease activity or therapeutic response in patients with NTM-PD.
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