CYFRA 21-1: a suitable tumor marker in patients with head and neck cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma?


The clinical significance of cytokeratin fraction 21-1 (CYFRA 21-1) for patients with head and neck cutaneous squamous cellcarcinoma (CSCC) is unknown. Thus, the aim of the study was to evaluate the clinical value of CYFRA 21-1 in the context of treatment and follow-up for these patients.


The clinical, histological and laboratory data of a total of 55 patients with the first diagnosis of head and neck cutaneoussquamous cell carcinoma (T1-T4, N0-N2b, M0-1) between 2003 and 2017 were retrospectively analyzed. In 25 cases, the primary tumorcould be treated successfully without residual or recurrent disease in the further course. The average follow-up period was 2.3 years. In all patients, pretherapeutic determination of CYFRA 21-1 was performed using the ECLIA test kit. The cut-off value was set at 3.3 ng/ml.


In 18 patients (32.7%), regional recurrence was found in the course of treatment. Distant metastases could be observed in two patients (3.6%). In these cases, no significant increase of CYFRA 21-1 blood concentration was detected at the time of recurrence/metastasis. At the time of the first diagnosis, the mean value of CYFRA 21-1 blood concentration was 2.4 ng/ml; and in cases of regional recurrence or distant metastases, the initial mean CYFRA 21-1 concentration was 2.0 ng/ml. There was no statistically significant relationship between CYFRA 21-1 blood concentration and analyzed tumor characteristics.


According to current knowledge, the tumor marker CYFRA 21-1 is not clinically significant for treatment and follow-up of patients with head and neck CSCC.