Sudden jump in CEA -- what does it mean?

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Sudden jump in CEA -- what does it mean?

Postby janelle » Fri Jan 12, 2007 1:25 am

Just got very scary news, and I'm hoping someone can help me understand.

My Mom is Stage IV and just finished her 6th chemo treatment. Her CEA started at 2400, and has been steadily coming down. By treatment 5 it was down to 500. Then suddenly it just jumped to over 900. Does anyone know if this could be a mistaken lab result, if CEA can really jump that much, if it means there's likely another tumor, if there's any way to turn the CEA around once it starts going back up, etc? Thanks for anything you can tell me -- I am so scared this is a very serious turn for the worse.

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Postby missjv » Fri Jan 12, 2007 8:26 am

hi janelle,
i have heard that sometimes the chemo meds can mess with cea levels so ask the doctor i know someone that happened to she had 2 sudden spikes while undergoing treatment and is still fine and her doc said it was because of the chemo effecting the tumor cells. good luck to your mom!


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Postby Magnolia » Fri Jan 12, 2007 9:35 am

Lots of things can affect CEA. It's not a clear indicator of anything, just a clue to start looking for more data. I have the opposite problem. Mine never did elevate even when I had a big honkin' tumor in there. Now a low CEA tells us nothing at all. We still check them in case it SHOULD by chance elevate, but low ones are not as reassuring as they could be.
They're a rough assessment tool and nothing more. And remember too, that a recurrance, should it happen, is a setback. It isn't necessarily a death knell.

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My experience

Postby ASTEPHENS33 » Sat Jan 13, 2007 10:38 pm

Although my CEA was never as high, it steadily went up after each chemo treatment. Now finally - after more than 9 months post-chemo - its back down. So I agree with the other posts, that chemo can mess-up CEA. Ask your oncologist what he/she thinks.


Any successes with 2nd line therapy?

Postby janel » Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:27 am

Thanks for all the hopeful info. Unfortunately, the high CEA number was confirmed, and a CT Scan showed 4 lesions on her liver. So the oncologist has determined that the first line therapy is no longer working, after just 3 months.

The oncologist (in Austin) did refer my Mom to MD Anderson to explore the possibility of clincal trials, but MD says there's a 2 week waiting period to review her case.

Question: Has anyone out there had success with a 2nd line therapy?

Thank you again!

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Postby missjv » Wed Jan 24, 2007 7:44 am

well definately go to md anderson get on the waiting list. as far as chemo they can try different drugs combinations. as for the liver she may be a candidate for liver resection to remove the tumors. don't get discouraged there are still different things to try.


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2nd line therapy

Postby nodo » Mon Jan 29, 2007 10:34 pm

I'm a patient at MD Anderson and I have asked that very question about 2nd line therapy. I have not had a recurrence so I have not had to personally experience that. However, my doctor at MD Anderson assured me that just because one line of therapy fails, it does not mean that the second line therapy will also fail. They are different meds and can work in a different fashion.

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