Skip to Content

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer CenterVanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center


VICC toll-free number 1-877-936-8422

Tumor Marker


tumor marker

A substance found in tissue, blood, or other body fluids that may be a sign of cancer or certain benign (noncancerous) conditions. Most tumor markers are made by both normal cells and cancer cells, but they are made in larger amounts by cancer cells. A tumor marker may help to diagnose cancer, plan treatment, or find out how well treatment is working or if cancer has come back. Examples of tumor markers include CA-125 (in ovarian cancer), CA 15-3 (in breast cancer), CEA (in colon cancer), and PSA (in prostate cancer).

Last updated: 2015-08-12

Source: The National Cancer Institute's Dictionary of Cancer Terms (