Background: To investigate the association between tumor markers [cancer antigen 15-3 (CA 15-3) and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA)] and clinicopathological parameters and patient outcomes in breast cancer. Materials and methods: A total of 740 patients with stages I-III breast cancer had preoperative CA 15-3 and CEA concentrations measured. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to investigate associations between marker concentration and clinicopathological parameters and patient outcomes. Results: Among 740 patients, elevated preoperative levels of CA 15-3 and CEA were identified in 92 (12.4%) and 79 (10.7%) patients, respectively. Tumor size (>5 cm), node metastases (≥4), and advanced stage (≥III) were associated with higher preoperative levels. Elevated CA 15-3 and CEA levels were associated with poor disease-free survival (DFS, P = 0.0014, P = 0.0001, respectively) and overall survival (OS, P = 0.018, P = 0.015) even in stage-matched analysis. Patients with normal levels of both CA 15-3 and CEA showed better DFS and OS than those with elevated group. In multivariate analysis, age (<35 years), tumor size (>2 cm), node metastases, estrogen receptor expression, and elevated CA 15-3 and CEA preoperative values were independent prognostic factors for DFS. Conclusion: High preoperative CA 15-3 and CEA levels may reflect tumor burden and are associated with advanced disease and poor outcome. Measuring preoperative levels of CA 15-3 and CEA can be helpful for predicting outcomes.
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