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Topic: Tumor markers

Forum: Not Diagnosed With a Recurrence or Metastases but Concerned —

Meet others concerned about developing a recurrence or metastases.

Posted on: Dec 24, 2019 11:12AM

pesky904 wrote:

Wasn't sure where to put this, so I put it under this topic.

If your CA 15-3 and CA 27-29 increase but are still within normal limits, does that mean anything?

When I was diagnosed, mine were in normal limits, but on the higher end. Now I'm being evaluated for recurrence and they have both increased but still within normal limits and still lower than they were when I was first diagnosed in 2017.

Do these numbers fluctuate often?

​dx 6/17 stage III TNBC 6cm tumor Taxol 7-8/17 tumor grew to 10cm AC 9-10/17 tumor shrunk to 3cm DMX 11/17 expanders placed Rads 33 doses + cisplatin 1/18 Cisplatin discontinued due to SEs Xeloda 4-10/2018 Exch surgery 11/18
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Dec 24, 2019 01:48PM MinusTwo wrote:

Tumor markers are only an indication - not a diagnosis. Many docs won't even do the tests because they are just that - an indication - and only useful if change is watched over a period of time. If they continually go up over several tests, my MO said they might do other tests.

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Dec 24, 2019 02:15PM pesky904 wrote:

Thank you for the reply. That’s exactly what I was asking. Mine have inched up just a very tiny bit with every repeated test. But I wasn’t sure if they fluctuate sort of the way a glucose level fluctuates

​dx 6/17 stage III TNBC 6cm tumor Taxol 7-8/17 tumor grew to 10cm AC 9-10/17 tumor shrunk to 3cm DMX 11/17 expanders placed Rads 33 doses + cisplatin 1/18 Cisplatin discontinued due to SEs Xeloda 4-10/2018 Exch surgery 11/18
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Dec 25, 2019 11:29AM illimae wrote:

Mine typically fluctuate between 12-19 and stay in range. As minus said, they’re only an indication. For some, they’re relevant and for others, they’re not. Symptoms and scans are what most docs consider actionable information.

Diagnosed at 41 Stage IV De Novo Dx 11/16/2016, IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 3, 3/13 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+ (IHC) Targeted Therapy 1/1/2017 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Chemotherapy 1/2/2017 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Targeted Therapy 1/2/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Surgery 6/26/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary Radiation Therapy 8/10/2017 Breast, Lymph nodes Dx 10/5/2017, IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IV, metastasized to brain, Grade 3, 3/13 nodes, ER+, HER2+ (IHC) Radiation Therapy 10/19/2017 External: Brain Radiation Therapy 4/18/2018 External: Brain Radiation Therapy 5/23/2019 External: Brain Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Dec 25, 2019 12:20PM Tinkerbell107 wrote:

Minus2: Agree. My MO won't even order the tumor marker labs based on their unreliability. Plus I was informed it may exacerbate emotional distress which in several cases the MO feels is unwarranted. My monitoring is what Illimae just noted symptims and scans. For now I'm totally ok with this approach...

Dx 8/23/2019, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 3, 5/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Targeted Therapy 9/19/2019 Ibrance (palbociclib) Hormonal Therapy Femara (letrozole), Zoladex (goserelin)
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Dec 29, 2019 01:50PM pesky904 wrote:

Thanks for the replies! I know these markers aren’t very reliable.

When I was first diagnosed, my tumor was over 7 cm and my CA 27-29 was only 30 (normal range is 0 - 38).

Because of that, I’m also aware that a normal range isn’t an indication of anything. I was just wondering how often the numbers fluctuate.

​dx 6/17 stage III TNBC 6cm tumor Taxol 7-8/17 tumor grew to 10cm AC 9-10/17 tumor shrunk to 3cm DMX 11/17 expanders placed Rads 33 doses + cisplatin 1/18 Cisplatin discontinued due to SEs Xeloda 4-10/2018 Exch surgery 11/18
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Jan 7, 2020 06:22PM HeatherPsalm34-4 wrote:

I also am dealing with ca 2729 level anxiety! The first time they did the test was July2019. (Mx 8/2018 and Chemo 9/2018-2/2019). In July my number was 28.3. In October my number was 32. My onc told me not to worry that numbers fluctuate. Just had the test again Dec 30th and it went up onepoint to 33. Again, all in normal range, but still concerns me, why aren’t they down!? My onc assures me nothing to worry about, only moving up one point. I also had test done at a different lab in July....could this explain the move from 28.3 to 32? My last breast mri showed benign fibroglandular tissue, can that cause a fluctuation? I’m sorry for rambling, I know God has me in his hand, but man, cancer just changes everything, will I ever really relax!?

Dx 6/2018, IDC, Left, 3cm, Grade 2, 5/8 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/2/2018 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 9/13/2018 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy
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Jan 10, 2020 05:30PM trinigirl50 wrote:

mine jump around all the time. 20s, 30s, 40s then back down and then up again. And yes different labs can make a difference. I dont bother with mine anymore, too much stress. If they make big jumps over 3 months, then it may be worth panicking. But for now, 28 to 33 doesnt seem like a big deal.

trinigirl50 Dx 3/7/2015, ILC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, 20/24 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery 3/7/2015 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 4/14/2015 AC + T (Taxotere) Hormonal Therapy 9/14/2015 Arimidex (anastrozole), Femara (letrozole) Radiation Therapy 10/1/2015 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Jan 10, 2020 05:31PM trinigirl50 wrote:

inflammation causes mine to fluctuate.

trinigirl50 Dx 3/7/2015, ILC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, 20/24 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery 3/7/2015 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 4/14/2015 AC + T (Taxotere) Hormonal Therapy 9/14/2015 Arimidex (anastrozole), Femara (letrozole) Radiation Therapy 10/1/2015 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Jan 14, 2020 10:09AM pesky904 wrote:

Thanks, all. I'm not worried, and honestly don't see why my MO even orders them. My numbers were in the normal range even when I was first diagnosed with a 7+ cm tumor, so I don't think these tests would ever tell me anything useful.

I was just curious if they jump around similar to the way your glucose level can be a different number every single time it's tested - it seems these markers are similar to that.

​dx 6/17 stage III TNBC 6cm tumor Taxol 7-8/17 tumor grew to 10cm AC 9-10/17 tumor shrunk to 3cm DMX 11/17 expanders placed Rads 33 doses + cisplatin 1/18 Cisplatin discontinued due to SEs Xeloda 4-10/2018 Exch surgery 11/18
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Jul 18, 2020 02:06PM Oceanbum wrote:

I saw my oncologist earlier this week. He did a CA-2729 test. The last time I had one was Feb 2018. The results were posted to my patient portal this morning. I'm freaking out a little over the results! In 2018 the number was 31. Today it shows 36.3. I know it's still in the normal range and below 38. But it scares me that it's rising, that it's so close to 38 and that it rose by 5 points! Should I be worried or is this much fluctuation normal?

Becky ~ "Sometimes we're tested not to show our weaknesses, but to discover our strengths." Surgery 11/2/2000 Dx 3/6/2017, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 3/21/2017, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 4/21/2017 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy 4/21/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 4/21/2017 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 9/5/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 9/25/2017 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Targeted Therapy 10/3/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Surgery 12/15/2017 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 4/20/2018 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting Hormonal Therapy 12/6/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 6/7/2019 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Jul 18, 2020 02:38PM MinusTwo wrote:

Ocean - cancer blood tests are only an indication - not a prediction or a diagnosis. Since that's more than two years ago, I wouldn't be too worried - but you can leave a message on your portal for your doc.

I have blood tests every 6 months and they fluxuate up & down.

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Jul 19, 2020 08:48AM Oceanbum wrote:

Thank you for the reassuring words, Minus. Ive decided to just wait & see if I hear from them. I'm not usually the worrying type. I'm more of a what will be will be person. So now that I've calmed down from my initial panic of the moment I'm much better. I've decided if I don't hear from them, they're not worried so it's nothing to worry about. If I do hear from them, they're the professionals and they'll know what we need to do.

Becky ~ "Sometimes we're tested not to show our weaknesses, but to discover our strengths." Surgery 11/2/2000 Dx 3/6/2017, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 3/21/2017, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 4/21/2017 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy 4/21/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 4/21/2017 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 9/5/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 9/25/2017 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Targeted Therapy 10/3/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Surgery 12/15/2017 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 4/20/2018 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting Hormonal Therapy 12/6/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 6/7/2019 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Jul 19, 2020 10:35AM MelissaDallas wrote:

Normal is normal. In range is fine. If you had it drawn again today it might be 31 again. Lot’s of things can affect tumor markers. They look for a (sustained) climb out of range to worry about them. My CEA was frequently just over range and the doc was never thought it was any big deal.

Benign causes of elevated CA 27-29 levels are as follows:

LCIS, extensive sclerosing adenosis, TAH/BSO & partial omentectomy for mucinous borderline ovarian tumor.
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Jul 19, 2020 11:12AM SpecialK wrote:

Fluctuation within the range is still normal, and it’s called a range because there is an expectation for the numbers to be anywhere along that spectrum and still be normal. All numbers on routine blood tests like a CBC or CMP move around within the range and are not usually cause for concern. Even minor elevations above and below the range can be considered “normal” and docs are usually looking for sustained climbing or dropping numbers before they get concerned. I had adjuvent (so theoretically all known cancer removed) chemo and had CA27/29 at diagnosis in the 20s. Post chemo it was 65. My MO checked at three week intervals and the number slowly dropped into the acceptable range over a few months. It had risen due to the great amount of inflammation caused by chemo, just my individual reaction. Five years later it rose again above the range when I had a substantial inflammatory process - large suture granuloma and inflamed tissue. After that was removed the number again dropped into acceptable range. While on letrozole my numbers were in the 30s most of the time over that 7.5 years, now that I am done with it my numbers are back in the 20s again, so even medication used to keep you cancer free can cause fluctuations and elevations in tumor markers.

BMX w/ TE 11/1/10, ALND 12/6/10. 15 additional surgeries. TCHx6 2/17-6/2/11. Herceptin until 1/19/12. Femara 8/1/11, Arimidex 6/20/12, back to Femara 6/18/13-present. Dx 9/27/2010, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 3 Dx 9/27/2010, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 2/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC)
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Jul 20, 2020 01:55PM Oceanbum wrote:

Thanks Melissa & SpecialK for the words of wisdom. I'm fairly new to tumor markers. I think they've only been drawn twice. So when I saw an increase I panicked, even though it was still in the normal range. I was expecting it to go down since I'm no longer in treatment & shouldn't have active cancer at this point. It just really threw me for a minute.

Becky ~ "Sometimes we're tested not to show our weaknesses, but to discover our strengths." Surgery 11/2/2000 Dx 3/6/2017, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 3/21/2017, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 4/21/2017 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy 4/21/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 4/21/2017 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 9/5/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 9/25/2017 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Targeted Therapy 10/3/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Surgery 12/15/2017 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 4/20/2018 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting Hormonal Therapy 12/6/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 6/7/2019 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Jul 20, 2020 02:32PM MelissaDallas wrote:

When it is worrisome is when it was like mine, where my CA-125 was almost 1000 when it should be around 35, or when it continues to climb out of range and get higher and higher with each trst

LCIS, extensive sclerosing adenosis, TAH/BSO & partial omentectomy for mucinous borderline ovarian tumor.

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