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Table 3 Sensitivity, specificity, likelihood ratio and post-test probability of cancer for the 28 different blood tests

From: Routine blood tests and probability of cancer in patients referred with non-specific serious symptoms: a cohort study

Blood test interval Valid blood tests (n) Number of abnormal test results (n (%)) Sensitivity/specificity Likelihood ratio of cancer (95% CI) Post-test probability of cancer (95% CI)
Inflammation
High CRP 1474 438 (30%) 0.60/0.74 2.4 (2.0; 2.7) 24.7 (21.9; 27.6)
High ESR 1154 375 (32%) 0.61/0.72 2.2 (1.9; 2.6) 23.3 (20.6; 26.3)
Immunology
 IgA 1473     
  Low   46 (3%) 0.08/0.98 3.1 (1.7; 5.7) 30.1 (19.0; 44.2)
  High   108 (7%) 0.10/0.93 1.4 (0.9; 2.3) 16.5 (10.9; 24.2)
 IgG 1472     
  Low   78 (5%) 0.08/0.95 1.7 (1.0; 2.9) 19.1 (12.1; 28.8)
  High   71 (5%) 0.08/0.96 1.8 (1.0; 3.1) 19.6 (12.2; 30.0)
 IgM 1474     
  Low   114 (8%) 0.13/0.91 1.4 (0.9; 2.1) 16.5 (11.6; 22.9)
  High   123 (8%) 0.12/0.92 1.6 (1.0; 2.4) 17.7 (12.2; 24.9)
Haematology
 White blood cell count 1486     
  Low   20 (1%) 0.01/0.99 0.4 (0.1; 2.8) 5.0 (0.7; 28.1)
  High   226 (15%) 0.24/0.86 1.7 (1.3; 2.3) 19.5 (15.3; 24.5)
 Neutrophil count 1469     
  Low   56 (4%) 0.02/0.96 0.6 (0.2; 1.6) 7.4 (2.8; 17.8)
  High   204 (14%) 0.29/0.88 2.5 (1.8; 3.3) 25.6 (20.7; 31.2)
High eosinophil count 1469 62 (4%) 0.06/0.96 1.6 (0.9; 3.0) 18.2 (10.6; 29.6)
High basophil count 1468 41 (3%) 0.03/0.97 1.0 (0.4; 2.6) 12.6 (5.4; 26.5)
High metamyelocytes 1468 161 (11%) 0.24/0.91 2.5 (1.9; 3.5) 26.1 (20.5; 32.7)
 Monocyte count 1468     
  Low   13 (1%) 0.06/0.99 0.6 (0.1; 4.7) 7.9 (1.1; 39.7)
  High   473 (32%) 0.51/0.70 1.7 (1.4; 2.0) 19.1 (16.6; 21.9)
 Lymphocyte count 1469     
  Low   360 (25%) 0.42/0.78 1.9 (1.6; 2.3) 20.8 (17.7; 24.4)
  High   42 (3%) 0.02/0.97 0.8 (0.3; 2.2) 9.8 (3.8; 23.2)
 Platelet count 1481     
  Low   72 (5%) 0.10/0.96 2.4 (1.5; 4.0) 25.1 (16.7; 35.8)
  High   210 (14%) 0.25/0.87 2.0 (1.5; 2.6) 21.5 (17.0; 26.8)
Anaemia
 Low haemoglobin 1482 428 (29%) 0.48/0.74 1.8 (1.5; 2.2) 20.1 (17.4; 23.1)
  Iron deficiency anaemia 1470 83 (6%) 0.08/0.95 1.4 (0.8; 2.5) 16.7 (10.4; 25.9)
  Anaemia, other causes 1452 145 (10%) 0.11/0.89 1.1 (0.7; 1.7) 12.9 (8.7; 18.7)
  Combined anaemia 1452 25 (2%) 0.04/0.98 2.8 (1.2; 6.7) 28.3 (14.3; 48.2)
  Inflammatory anaemia 1452 159 (11%) 0.25/0.91 2.8 (2.1; 3.8) 28.0 (22.2; 34.6)
Liver and metabolism
Low albumin 1494 361 (24%) 0.41/0.78 1.9 (1.5; 2.3) 20.7 (17.6; 24.2)
High ALT 1484 118 (8%) 0.12/0.93 1.7 (1.1; 2.6) 18.7 (13.0; 26.3)
High alkaline phosphatase 1479 257 (17%) 0.37/0.85 2.5 (2.0; 3.2) 26.0 (21.8; 30.7)
High bilirubin 1479 38 (3%) 0.07/0.98 3.3 (1.7; 6.4) 31.5 (19.1; 47.2)
High amylasec 1070 51 (5%) 0.04/0.95 0.9 (0.4; 2.0) 10.7 (5.0; 21.7)
High calcium 1484 119 (8%) 0.18/0.93 2.8 (1.9; 4.0) 27.7 (21.0; 35.7)
High LDH 1429 160 (11%) 0.22/0.90 2.3 (1.6; 3.1) 23.9 (18.5; 30.4)
High uric acid 1484 119 (8%) 0.09/0.92 1.1 (0.7; 1.9) 13.4 (8.6; 20.4)
Tumour markers
High M-proteinc 1050 33 (3%) 0.09/0.98 4.3 (2.2; 8.4) 37.4 (23.3; 54.0)
 sFLC ratio 1455     
  Low   30 (2%) 0.05/0.98 2.6 (1.2; 5.8) 26.7 (12.3; 45.9)
  High   201 (14%) 0.16/0.87 1.2 (0.8; 1.7) 13.9 (9.5; 19.5)
High AFP 1446 159 (11%) 0.10/0.89 0.9 (0.6; 1.4) 11.0 (7.2; 16.4)
High PSAa 694 97 (14%) 0.24/0.88 1.9 (1.3; 2.9) 21.1 (15.1; 28.6)
High hCGa 684 37 (5%) 0.18/0.97 5.8(3.1; 10.6) 44.4 (30.3; 59.6)
High CA-125b 769 93 (12%) 0.39/0.91 4.2 (2.9; 6.1) 36.8 (28.7; 45.7)
  1. Abbreviations: ESR erythrocyte sedimentation rate, CRP C-reactive protein, IgA immunoglobulin A, IgG immunoglobulin G, IgM immunoglobulin M, ALT alanine aminotransaminase, LDH lactate dehydrogenase, sFLC serum-free light chain κ/λ ratio, AFP alpha-fetoprotein, PSA prostate-specific antigen, hCG human chorionic gonadotropin, CA-125 cancer antigen 125
  2. The pretest probability of cancer was 12.2%; a likelihood ratio of >1.0 increased the probability of cancer. aPSA and hCG were only performed in men
  3. bCA-125 was only performed in women
  4. cAs the reference range was changed for M protein and amylase during the inclusion period by the Department of Clinical Chemistry at Silkeborg Regional Hospital, we did not include test results for these blood tests after this change