Elevated tumor marker

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May 15, 2015 at 6:29 am  #1269557    


Hi I am asking on behalf of a friend who is unable to register into this site;

She’s 57 female non-profit smoker

Diagnosed with stage IV adenocarcinoma right lung cancer with lung mass and pleural effusion. Been on Tarceva since Feb 2014. Had radiotherapy to affected lung completed in November 2014. Last PET scan shows no obvious metabolic active tumour recurrence. However tumour marker test have been on the rise for past few months. CA15.3 was 49(dec 2014), 101(feb 2015), 181(mar) & 418(may). Brain MRI is ok. Mammogram shows 12mm sized right axillary lymph node which may be benign. Ultrasound done & result is ok. Comments or advise would be appreciated as scan & tumour marker test are contradictory.

Questions are: as she’s has no symptom and no measurable tumor in her body why is her CA 15.3 rising?
Could Tarceva be the cause?
Her oncologist seems at a loss too.
Please help as she’s at her wits end

May 15, 2015 at 9:44 am  #1269559    
catdander forum moderator
catdander forum moderator

Hi Peterkin,

I’m very sorry your friend is having difficulty knowing what to do about this info. The good news is we have an answer (that’s too often not the case). Tumor markers aren’t reliable in following lung cancer especially when they contradict scans and symptoms. Following is a link to info from Dr. West. There is also a plethora of info on the subject throughout the website. Our Grace search engine is usually very helpful with common situations. http://cancergrace.org/lung/2013/01/05/serum-tumor-markers-video/

It’s always good to get a question like yours. Easy to answer and the news gives rise to lowered stress.

Best of luck,

May 15, 2015 at 3:24 pm  #1269561    


CA15.3 is used to monitor response to those being treated for breast cancer not lung. Will they biopsy the axillary node? This may give them more info. Take care, Judy
I am a lung cancer patient and not a medical professional.

Stage IIIA adeno, dx 7/2010. SRS then chemo carbo/alimta 4x. NED as of 10/2011.
Local recurrence, surgery to remove LRL 8/29/13. 5.2cm involved pleura. Chemo carbo/alimta x3. NED

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