Rising CEA in lung cancer means what???/

My mom has lung cancer, a rising CEA from 37 to 48, then 70 now, what does this mean?? any help appreciated in advance.

Report post

5 replies. Join the discussion

Here in the US, most onc don't use CEA. Only scans can tell what's going on. That's all I can tell you.
Good luck & take care, Judy

Report post

Hello that really isnt true my doctor has done a cea ( ever 6 months ) as a marker along with ct scan s and xrays.. for over the last 4 + years .. and it could mean anything .. the normal for a smoker is up to 10 // and not sure why it is going up.. so i would ask your doctor.. god bless and I am in california..


Report post

CEA is most useful to monitor treatment of cancer patients. It is used for patients who have had surgery, to measure response to therapy and to monitor whether the disease has recurred. A blood test for CEA in this circumstance is used as a tumour marker, i.e. an indicator of whether the cancer is present or not. CEA is used as a marker for bowel cancer in particular, but may be measured where other forms of cancer are present. It has been found helpful in monitoring some patients with cancer of the rectum, lung, breast, liver, pancreas, stomach, and ovary. Not all cancers produce CEA, and a level within the given reference range does not guarantee that cancer (even the kinds known to produce CEA) is not present, therefore the CEA test is not used for screening the general population.


Report post

CEA is not a reliable test of anything. Period.

Report post

Judy is right. To my knowledge there are no suitable screening or follow-up markers that have been validated for lung cancer. Some of thoracic surgeons 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. A surgeon friend 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. The metagene analysis put forth by the folks at Duke is complicated, yet may someday have clinical utility. The siRNA technology may become useful clinically too.


Report post

This discussion is closed to replies. We close all discussions after 90 days.

If there's something you'd like to discuss, click below to start a new discussion.

Photo of Dave Grant

The Lung Cancer Survivors Support Community has provided support for patients, caregivers, families and friends since 2006. We welcome over 600 new members every month in the fight against lung cancer.

ALK mutations and lung cancer

Join the discussion about ALK mutations and lung cancer

Things you can do

Discussion topics

Community leaders