The clinical efficacy of four laboratory tests in detecting leptomeningeal metastases in 57 patients with breast carcinoma was assessed. The sensitivity and specificity of beta-glucuronidase, beta 2-microglobulin, carcinoembryonic antigen and lactate dehydrogenase in cerebrospinal fluid were determined. As a single test beta-glucuronidase was the most sensitive (93%) and specific (93%) for discriminating between leptomeningeal metastases and other CNS metastases from breast cancer. Lactate dehydrogenase was the next most useful marker. Both beta 2-microglobulin and carcinoembryonic antigen had a sensitivity of 60%. More specific results were achieved by combining beta-glucuronidase and lactate dehydrogenase. CSF beta-glucuronidase may be useful by itself and in combination with lactate dehydrogenase in the detection of leptomeningeal metastases from breast carcinoma.
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