i posted a few months ago that my husband casey's dr said he is in remission, but his cea tumor marker was elivated and he would keep an eye on it. it has gone up again. i didnt know the numbers last month, but now i do. it was 180 in july and is 225 now. i did a search on the site and some people have 2 or 3 as their marker. is there more than one way to measure this thing? if not, then 225 means pretty active cancer i'm thinking. i am open for education.

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I thnk CEA is an aid rather than a definitive measure - please see this post:


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do not mind CEA value so much.
My wife had over 4,300 a couple of months ago and then dropped to less than 2,000 to regain something in the last month. During all this time she felt well and her main tumor shrank 53%. Once you have cancer, even if you are NED, your CEA will not be back to normal (<5) EVER.
Leave it alone and focus on the CT scan result only.
Khun PET

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I disagree. My understanding is that a low CEA is not a guarantee of no cancer activity, but a rising CEA, especially at higher levels well above the normal range, is an indication that *something* is going on somewhere. Sounds like Dr. Weiss on Cancergrace might use it to scan sooner than planned. Maybe your husband's doc will, too.

Best wishes,

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thanks, and i wish the dr's would come to some kind of an agreement on this. i am trying not to "go there" and worry, but it is hard.

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I dont think they can - seems like change in CEA is more inportant that absolute level (I am guessing you can have a small tumour that pumps out loads, or a large cancer that pumps out a little) so theres no rule of thumb. However, it seems that raising levels can be used as an indicator that further tests need bringing forward - rather than as a definitive good/bad.
(ie. a headache may mean you've been drinking too much - but not definitively)

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I've asked this question with a thoracic surgeon friend who told me that to his knowledge there are no suitable screening or follow-up markers that have been validated for lung cancer. Some of them have used CEA or LDH levels. If they are high before resection and drop afterwards, they might be useful. This is akin to CEA for colon cancer, but the data there are more convincing. Markers in lung cancer are not currently accepted as a standard and their routine use has been challenged in recent guidelines. He currently uses a battery of markers that may predict proliferation potential, the propensity for a tumor to form metastases, the response to platinum agents (ERCC1), response to EGFR receptor antagonists. He says the metagene analysis put forth by the folks at Duke is complicated, yet may someday have clinical utility. There was be a CALGB trial evaluating this. The siRNA technology may become useful clinically too.


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Thanks to Greg for helping.In4/ )9 My CEA after rt lobectomy my CEA,dropped from 8 to 0.My ONC feels its a marker for me.It was 5 and I was NED at 6 months.At 1 year check up I was 113,then repeated and was 133,Now had a liver met.Since then except in November when it dropped 500 pts it has gone up .At 1st by 20's the more and more.In june maybe was 3500,Last one was 21,000 and some in September.I have more diffuse mets on CT,so it is consistent for me.Had to repeat liver biopsy for more tissue yesterday.Got enough.If Alk+ will be trying Crininzotrib,I hope,I was waiting to get my last CEA results to answer you.Don't panic, in other people,it has elevated due to inflammation,or infectionAndIB

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My CEA marker was 14.8 when I started chemo 3 treatments ago it was 7.2 last week I get my next treatment next week and then the Pet Scan on my lungs. My Dr thinks that the 7.2 is a good sign Ionly pray that he is correct.

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