Clear CT but slowly rising CEA

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Punky44
Posts: 491
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2018 4:29 pm

Clear CT but slowly rising CEA

Postby Punky44 » Mon Dec 27, 2021 6:32 pm

Hi all,

I hope everyone had a good holiday…

My mom just had her 6 month scans today at Mayo and everything looked great, but we are now noticing a pattern of slowly rising CEA—2.3, 2.4, 3, 3.1 and now 3.4. Should we be concerned about this pattern? She will be 3 years cancer free this March.
Caregiver to my amazing mom (68 at dx)
10/1/18 DX with rectal cancer; CEA 17
T3N2M0
Total neoadjuvant therapy:
8 rounds Folfox 11/5/18 - 2/11/19
Short course radiation 3/14/19 - 3/20/19
Robotically assisted laparoscopic LAR 3/21/19
Pathology report says yT2N0M0 with 0/38 nodes
6/28/19 Reversal and port out
CEA 2.1; 1.9; 2.6; 2.8; 2.3; 2.4; 3.0; 3.4; 3.1; 3.4
Latest update: 12/27/21: Clear CT with CEA 3.4

Me: 34, first colonoscopy 11/16/18—normal! Come back in 5 years.

Nor Cal
Posts: 49
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2020 8:18 pm

Re: Clear CT but slowly rising CEA

Postby Nor Cal » Tue Dec 28, 2021 1:48 pm

What is the time period between tests?

Increases in CEA is always concerning, but not always a problem. Mine bounces around between 2.5 - 4.0. My onc doesn't seem all that concerned about small increases. Hopefully the next one will be down to sooth your fears.
Dx June 2020, stage IV, w liver mets in both lobes. M, age 50. Right-sided colon tumor. BRAF mutation. CEA 39.5
July 2020 - January 2022: 25 cycles chemo (FOLFOXIRI x9, FOLFIRI x12, 5-FU x4) + Avastin (discontinued Nov 2021)
January 2022 - Present: Xeloda
December 2020 - February 2021 Radioembolization, Chemoembolization x2

Punky44
Posts: 491
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2018 4:29 pm

Re: Clear CT but slowly rising CEA

Postby Punky44 » Tue Dec 28, 2021 2:46 pm

Nor Cal wrote:What is the time period between tests?

Increases in CEA is always concerning, but not always a problem. Mine bounces around between 2.5 - 4.0. My onc doesn't seem all that concerned about small increases. Hopefully the next one will be down to sooth your fears.


Thanks for your response. This has been over a period of 18 months. (2.3 18 months ago and draws every 3 months with the exception of this last one which was a 6 month interval, the last of which is now 3.4.)

I have a call into her oncologist to discuss if they find this to be a true “rising trend” that’s alarming or not. I would love to see a drop just to break the streak.
Caregiver to my amazing mom (68 at dx)
10/1/18 DX with rectal cancer; CEA 17
T3N2M0
Total neoadjuvant therapy:
8 rounds Folfox 11/5/18 - 2/11/19
Short course radiation 3/14/19 - 3/20/19
Robotically assisted laparoscopic LAR 3/21/19
Pathology report says yT2N0M0 with 0/38 nodes
6/28/19 Reversal and port out
CEA 2.1; 1.9; 2.6; 2.8; 2.3; 2.4; 3.0; 3.4; 3.1; 3.4
Latest update: 12/27/21: Clear CT with CEA 3.4

Me: 34, first colonoscopy 11/16/18—normal! Come back in 5 years.

Nor Cal
Posts: 49
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2020 8:18 pm

Re: Clear CT but slowly rising CEA

Postby Nor Cal » Tue Dec 28, 2021 3:07 pm

Punky44 wrote:
Nor Cal wrote:What is the time period between tests?

Increases in CEA is always concerning, but not always a problem. Mine bounces around between 2.5 - 4.0. My onc doesn't seem all that concerned about small increases. Hopefully the next one will be down to sooth your fears.


Thanks for your response. This has been over a period of 18 months. (2.3 18 months ago and draws every 3 months with the exception of this last one which was a 6 month interval, the last of which is now 3.4.)

I have a call into her oncologist to discuss if they find this to be a true “rising trend” that’s alarming or not. I would love to see a drop just to break the streak.


A 50% increase over 18 months (while peaking just above normal) doesn't seem like a huge deal to me, though that is just based on my own CEA trends. On my most recent scan I went from 2.5 - 4 over a six-week period (testing every 2 weeks) right before the scan and there was nothing visible, and now we're back down to 2.8. I do understand looking at blood tests and cursing every time the number goes up, so I feel your concern. Let us know what the onc says.
Dx June 2020, stage IV, w liver mets in both lobes. M, age 50. Right-sided colon tumor. BRAF mutation. CEA 39.5
July 2020 - January 2022: 25 cycles chemo (FOLFOXIRI x9, FOLFIRI x12, 5-FU x4) + Avastin (discontinued Nov 2021)
January 2022 - Present: Xeloda
December 2020 - February 2021 Radioembolization, Chemoembolization x2


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