Monoclonal anticarcinoembryonic antigen (antiCEA), human milk factor globulin (HMFG2), and antikeratin antibodies were assessed for their value in the differential diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma (53 cases) and carcinoma of the lung (60 cases) in material from necropsies. In 40 of the cases pleural biopsies were also studied in the same manner. AntiCEA was found to be the best discriminating antibody for most types of mesothelioma; HMFG2 was slightly less valuable but a useful additional tool. Antikeratin was the least useful. For both antiCEA and HMFG2 antibodies, however, the proportion of carcinomas staining was smaller than in previous studies and this, combined with the positive staining of some mesotheliomas, reduces the value of the reactions in the individual case. Medical panels adjudicating compensation claims should not use these reactions as the sole criteria in deciding the origin of the tumours in these cases.
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