A 50 year old man is described with hepatic dysfunction and chronic pancreatitis in whom greatly increased concentrations of the pancreatic tumour marker CA 19-9 combined with an abnormal appearance at endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography lead to the false suspicion of pancreatic carcinoma. CA 19-9 concentrations should be interpreted with caution in patients with intrinsic liver disease or biliary obstruction.
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