Objective Recurrence remains a significant clinical problem for patients with cervical cancer, and early detection may improve outcomes. Serum squamous cell carcinoma antigen (SCCA) is a biomarker of prognosis and response to chemoradiotherapy. We hypothesized that elevated serum SCCA during surveillance is sensitive and specific for recurrence. Methods Pre-treatment and follow-up serum SCCA from patients treated with definitive-intent radiotherapy were measured via enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)-certified laboratory and analyzed retrospectively. Follow-up SCCA was defined as the value closest to recurrence, or as last available for patients without recurrence. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) of follow-up SCCA for recurrence was determined for the whole cohort (Cohort 1), for patients with elevated (Cohort 2), and normal pre-treatment SCCA (Cohort 3). Patterns of failure were also evaluated. Results Of 227 patients in Cohort 1, 23% experienced recurrence, and 17% died of cervical cancer. Mean follow-up SCCA was 0.9 (±2.5) for patients with no recurrence and 6.0 (±18.7) for patients with recurrence (p=0.02). Sensitivity, specificity, PPV, and NPV of follow-up SCCA for recurrence in Cohort 1 were 38.5%, 97.1%, 80%, and 84.2%, and for patients in Cohort 2 were 54.5%, 95%, 78.3%, and 86.5%, respectively. Four of 86 patients in Cohort 3 had an elevated follow-up SCCA, two of these at the time of recurrence. Elevated pre-treatment SCCA and follow-up SCCA were associated with isolated pelvic recurrence. Conclusions Surveillance serum SCCA has high specificity and NPV for recurrence, and may be of limited utility in patients with normal pre-treatment SCCA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)808-816
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Gynecological Cancer
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2024


  • Cervical Cancer
  • Radiotherapy, Image-Guided
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms


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