Tumor Markers (Online Course)

(based on 612 customer ratings)

Jack Maggiore, PhD, MT(ASCP)
Reviewer: Lisa Dewey, MT(ASCP)

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Continuing Education Credits

  • P.A.C.E.® Contact Hours: 1.5 hour(s)
  • Florida Board of Clinical Laboratory Science CE - General (Clinical Chemistry/UA/Toxicology): 1.5 hour(s)


  • Describe the features of a measurand that make for an ideal tumor marker.
  • Delineate the factors that limit the utility of a component as a tumor marker.
  • Correlate the presence of a tumor marker with its associated affected organ system.
  • Differentiate between carbohydrate-rich tumor markers, protein-rich tumor markers, enzymatic tumor markers, and oncofetal antigens.
  • List some of the emerging tumor markers for assessing breast cancer response to therapy and breast cancer risk.

Customer Ratings

(based on 612 customer ratings)

Course Outline

  • Definitions and Background
    • Key Definitions
      • Cancer
      • Tumor Marker
    • Background
      • Cancer Prevalence and Relative Risk
      • Cancer Prevalence - New Cancer Cases by Site
      • Cancer Predispositions
      • Early Detection is Crucial
      • Which statement would NOT fit the definition of a tumor marker?
  • The Ideal Tumor Marker
    • Specificity
      • The Ideal Tumor Marker Would Have 100% Specificity
    • Sensitivity
      • The Ideal Tumor Marker Would Have 100% Sensitivity
    • Concentration and Tumor Mass
      • The Ideal Tumor Marker Would Be Indicative of Tumor Mass
    • Analytical Aspects
      • The Ideal Tumor Marker Would be Detectable in Blood or Biological Fluids
      • The Ideal Tumor Marker Would be Adaptable to Laboratory Analysis
      • Ideally, for a tumor marker to be considered as a screening tool, it should be consistently elevated at early stages of disease so that the diagnostic...
      • Reference Values
    • Reality
      • Providing Diagnostic and Prognostic Support
  • Examples of Tumor Markers
      • Components
    • Hormones
      • Primary and Ectopic Hormones
      • Example of Ectopic Production of Hormone from Lung Tumor
      • Hormones as Tumor Markers
      • In regards to hormone production, what is the term that is associated with the production of a hormone at a distant site by non-endocrine tissue?
    • Specific Proteins
      • Specific Proteins as Tumor Markers
      • Specific Proteins as Tumor Markers - Monoclonal Immunoglobulins
      • Specific Proteins as Tumor Markers - Diagnostic Utility
      • The detection of an immunoglobulin clone, such as IgM, is ALWAYS associated with a malignant condition, such as a multiple myeloma.
    • Enzymes
      • Enzymes as Tumor Markers
      • Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA): Background
      • Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA): Biochemistry and Genetics
      • Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA): Clinical Applications
      • Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA): Clinical Applications in Early Detection of Prostate Cancer
      • Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA): Clinical Applications in Prostate Cancer Screening (continued)
      • Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA): Clinical Applications in Prostate Cancer Staging
      • Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA): Clinical Applications of Monitoring Treatment
      • Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA): Clinical Applications in Monitoring Recurrence
      • Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA): Controversy
      • The clinical utility of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) as a tumor marker includes which of the following?
    • Carbohydrate Markers
      • Carbohydrate Tumor Markers
      • The Mucin-Rich Carbohydrate Tumor Markers
      • CA 125
      • CA 15-3
      • CA 549
      • CA 27.29
    • Blood Group Antigen-Related Cancer Markers
      • Blood Group Antigens as Tumor Markers
      • CA 19-9
    • Receptors
      • Tumor Marker Receptors
      • Estrogen and Progesterone Receptors
      • Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER2/neu)
    • Oncofetal Antigens
      • The Oncofetal Antigens
      • Alpha Fetoprotein (AFP)
      • Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA)
    • Mutations of Tumor Suppressor Genes
      • Breast Cancer Susceptibility Proteins
  • References
      • References

Additional Information

Level of instruction: Beginning
Intended audience:  Medical laboratory scientists, medical technologists, and technicians. This course is also appropriate for medical laboratory science students and pathology residents.
Author information: Jack A. Maggiore, PhD, MT(ASCP) serves as the Assistant Laboratory Director of Chemistry and is Head of Research and Development at Doctor's Data, Inc. in Saint Charles, Illinois. Dr. Maggiore is a medical technologist, certified by the ASCP, with a Master of Science in Clinical Chemistry and Doctorate in Pathology from the University of Illinois. His expertise includes clinical instrumentation, method development and validation, quality assurance, medical device clinical trials, and scientific regulatory affairs. His clinical research interests include development of novel biomarkers for chronic diseases using blood spots and other non-conventional samples. Dr. Maggiore holds several medical device patents, has authored more than fifty peer-reviewed and invited publications and textbook chapters, and has presented his research findings at international scientific society meetings. Dr. Maggiore's mission is to work with health care professionals to empower consumers to take a more active role in their health maintenance.
Reviewer information: Lisa Dewey, MT(ASCP) is the Quality Manager at Doctor's Data, Inc. and has been a medical technologist since 1990. She obtained a BS in Clinical Laboratory Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Lisa has experience working in various specialties in hospital and clinic laboratories, research & development, laboratory management, and a commercial laboratory specializing in dried blood spot testing.
Course description: This course is intended to provide the basic information necessary regarding tumor markers and how they are used to detect, diagnose, and provide a prognosis of various cancers, as well as to provide an increased understanding of the many emerging biomarkers.

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