Levels of carcinoembryonic antigen and glucose transporter 1 may have prognostic value in gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) based on the phenotype of plasma small extracellular vesicles (SEV), according to a new study published in the journal Anticancer Research

“This is the first study investigating the phenotype of plasma SEVs in GIST patients,” the authors of the study wrote.

They aimed to investigate the prognostic value of 31 different surface proteins of plasma SEVs for risk stratification in advanced or metastatic GIST.

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The team led by Ninna Aggerholm Pedersen, MD, MSc, PhD, from the Department of Oncology, Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, analyzed 157 patients from the 2 sarcoma centers in Denmark. They divided these patients into 3 groups. Those in the first group were undergoing radical surgery. Those in the second group were patients with local, locally advanced, or metastatic GIST. Finally, those in the third group were patients without evidence of disease after radical surgery.

The team identified high levels of carcinoembryonic antigen and low levels of glucose transporter 1 as markers of poor prognosis in patients with local, locally advanced, or metastatic GIST.

The researchers also reported a prognostic model containing carcinoembryonic antigen, glucose transporter 1, and age at inclusion in the study that is highly statistically significant. “However, external validation is needed,” they said.

Risk stratification is already used to assess prognosis and identify patients with local GIST who are most likely to benefit from adjuvant treatment. However, no such risk stratification exists for patients with advanced or metastatic disease.

Carcinoembryonic antigen is a set of highly related glycoproteins that play a role in cell adhesion. Levels of carcinoembryonic antigen in the serum are elevated in certain types of cancer.

Glucose transporter 1 facilitates the transport of glucose across the cell membranes. Research suggests it may also be involved in cancer.


Brinch CM, Hogdall E, Heer P, et al. The prognostic value of plasma small extracellular vesicles’ phenotype in patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumor. Anticancer Res. Published online December 1, 2022. doi:10.21873/anticanres