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elevated CA72-4 tumor marker

Posts: 7
Joined: Sep 2018

About a month ago, my wife had a panel of serum tumor markers tested in Europe. The reason why she did it is to serve as a "negative" control for her mother (who is currently a 3-year cancer survivor). However, we unexpectedly found that my wife's CA72-4 level was elevated to 24 and to 16U/ml (analysis done in different labs on consecutive days). The normal upper limit is 6.9U/ml. Her other markers (CEA, CA19-9, CA125, CA15-3, HE4 and AFP) were normal. Upon our return home to the USA, she had several tests (including abdominal/pelvic CT), which so far did not reveal the specific reason for this elevation. As with all tumor markers, the most important thing is to follow the dynamics of CA72-4.  And here we have a big problem: although CA72-4 is a commonly tested marker in Europe and many other countries, it is not FDA-approved in the USA. Therefore, we would be enormously grateful if someone would let us know whether it is possible to measure it here. We would also appreciate hearing from anyone who had an elevated CA72-4 level and how everything developed.

Deathorglory's picture
Posts: 322
Joined: Jul 2013

Hello Popkin,

Sorry I can't answer your question, but I just wanted to let you know that someone has seen your post and cares.  I get CEA and CA 19-9 tests done regularly, but I'm unfamiliar with the others.  I have never even heard of testing family members to get a negative control value.  I may not know much about what your MIL's doctors are doing, but it at least sounds like they are being thorough.  I hope everything works out well for her.

Best Wishes,


Posts: 7
Joined: Sep 2018

Hi Ed,

thank you very much for your concern. Concerning my mother-in-law, after 3 years, we are breathing more easily, but are monitoring regularly using a wide panel of markers in case of recurrence. Her CEA level is constantly slightly elevated, but isn't increasing, whereas all other markers are normal, which is why we wanted to check if there is a genetic element to the CEA value. That's why my wife was tested. Her CA72-4 result is troubling because it is above normal, and is known to be elevated in a wide range of cancers. That's why we'd like to follow the dynamics. We have received a couple of ssuggestions for testing here in the US, and would welcome comments from anyone whose CA72-4 levels have been evaluated.

Again, thanks very much for your kind comments. 

Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2018

My husband is the most loving man and our lives have been turned up side down with this cancer. 2 years ago he became sick had abdominal pain and suffering with this for 3 days. Dr. Did surgery and found a tumor very small cut it out and said were good to go. That's what we Did thinking it was all over with and dr. Said no treatment of any kind you are very lucky no need for chemo . We went on with our lives as always he was getting our future plans in order he was 61 ready to start the retirement process we paid off the house and got everything ready to rock and roll. He had blood work and CT scans done as a recheck and it was good no sign of cancer. Come back in 3 Mos . So he did the recheck with blood work and it was alittle up but dr. Said no need to worry you are ok. That was in December starting a new year work was going good time to do the retirement paperwork but for some reason he changed his mind not to retire till the following year. He started having pains and not like the the pains before but it was the weekend and by Monday he went to the dr. And blood test showed concern he had scan done that day and the next morning Dr. said I'm sorry you need to see oncologist tommrow. In a very worried state of panic we had the worst as being stage 2 if that we can deal with it no pribkem. As we wait for Dr. To come in the room and the Door opens I see dr. Mouth open and she said I'm sorry sir you have stage 4 colon cancer and 6mos if that to live. It's been a blur since then. The cancer spread to liver and the chemo he is on Did not make him sick they were amazed at no side affects that were bad alittle stomach discomforts but went away after a few days. The tumor has shrunk from 120 marker way down and his 12th chemo numbers are at 13 and please forgive me for not knowing all the right terminology and all that but Dr. Said we may stop chemo now we find out Tuesday and hipec surgery is the best plan for him. God is with us on our journey But I'm scared to Death it will grow while waiting for this to happen.  We will need to  travel 2 hours to city of hope and I can't drive at night I'm blind in one eye and in a large city I'm not able to drive very far at all. At home I do ok to drive around to store and go gas up when needed but at night will be a problem. But I will just have to do it. I need to know what is the process for this surgery and we have read all about it.  It's the not knowing that's hard and all the waiting around for this and that it's killing me. I am retired and stay at home so I'm the caregiver we don't have alot of support here family some are here some are very far away it's him and I and our Dog that's about it. What do We have to do to push this surgery to happen soon as possible, he needs to be off chemo for 6 weeks before surgery we have 2 weeks under our belt. What can I do to besides screaming to the top of my lungs and to the highest mt. To help the situation and prey it Don't grow any larger while we wait. We have good insurance and hope I'm not gonna have waiting forever to be get this going . Any person who can tell me anything please respond. Thanks I'm so blessed to have found a place to read and understand other people who are facing the same as I am. Bless all the caregivers stay strong and focused our loved ones need us. And we need to stay healthy so we may continue to care for husbands and wife's your not alone in the fight .

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