JOANNA F. HAAS, M.D.
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To the editor: Discussions on the use of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) assay to detect malignant pleural effusion and malignant ascites (1, 2) would benefit from explicit summary of measures of the test's usefulness: sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values.
Sensitivity, the proportion of true positives correctly identified by the test, and specificity, the proportion of true negatives correctly identified by the test, are ascertained by recategorizing patients whose diagnostic status has been independently confirmed. In the papers cited (1, 2), pleural effusions and ascites of demonstrably malignant origin are distinguished from those in which malignant origin is not
HAAS JF. Carcinoembryonic Antigen Assay. Ann Intern Med. ;89:424. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-89-3-424_1
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1978;89(3):424.
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