another cea question

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harleywiz
harleywiz Member Posts: 50 Member

so i have had stage 4 cancer for 3 1/2 years and it dont want to go away or in remission been throught all the fun stuff but my cea always is around 0.4 thats in the normal range i keep growing tumors in my groin so somthing is going on...im on my 3rd chemo and i know im spelling this wrong but its erbatux and it gives you bad pimples all over your body butits all part of the fun cdc oil being deliverd monday so going to ad that to my otherr drugs any idea why my cea is always good even that i have had stage 4  for 3 1/2 years ?

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  • Trubrit
    Trubrit Member Posts: 5,800 Member
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    Indicators

    For some, CEA is a good indicator, for others, like youself, it is not. Why? Who knows. Well, I guess someone might know, but its not me. 

    I've heard how horrible the Erbitux rash is, and there are some posts here that give you ideas on how to conbat it. It does go away though, and there are folks here (thinking of Phil64) who have had it and are now doing well.

    I wish you all the best, and hope that this round of Chemo is the one that knocks it back down. 

    Happy Christmas (or season)! 

    TRU

  • JanJan63
    JanJan63 Member Posts: 2,478 Member
    edited December 2016 #3
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    I've always had a low CEA as

    I've always had a low CEA as well but I've never been given an explanation for why that might be, sorry. I never thought it to be honest.

    Jan

  • beaumontdave
    beaumontdave Member Posts: 1,280 Member
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    It's reasonably accurate or

    It's reasonably accurate or useful for me but the answer for why it's not dependable is likely a hard question for experts. All you can do is reject it as a useful test.

  • zx10guy
    zx10guy Member Posts: 273 Member
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    Sorry about your challenges

    Sorry about your challenges in getting over this wretched disease.  I seem to recall the rash/skin problems are actually a good thing with Erbitux as it signals the drug is "working".

    As far as CEA, it's a crazy topic that even researchers/doctors don't seem to have definitive answers.  CEA at its basics is protein antigen expressed by certain cells under certain conditions.  There are two testing assays for measuring CEA levels.  These are the Siemens test (the older one) and the Roche test (newer and seems to be adopted in favor of the Siemens).  Both of these tests have different ranges for what is considered normal.  Getting back to CEA itself, the expression of CEA is entirely dependent on the cell(s) in question in particular tumor cells.  Some tumor cells just don't express a lot of CEA.  Some do.  When I was obsessing with doing online research at the start of my cancer journey, I ran into a few scientific studies/papers which suggest a correlation of the grade of cancer cell in the amount of CEA expressed.  The suggestion is low grade/well differentiated cancer cells express more CEA than high grade/poorly differentiated cancer cells.  The pervasive guidance about CEA is to concentrate on the trend and not the absolute number.  This is why for those starting out this journey reading this to have a CEA test done before any treatment to get a baseline on where you are.  There has also been situations where those who CEA is not a good marker will show sensitivity to it later on in their cancer journey.  This could be from a change in the tumor cells as tumor cells do mutate and/or can be a result of overall tumor loading.

    CEA is not the only tumor marker to measure for colon cancer for those that have not shown sensitivity to the test.  I've seen people tracking CA 9-19 and CA 125 blood tests when CEA is not a good test for them.