CEA Level drops without treatment

CKHope Member Posts: 2 *
edited October 2022 in Colorectal Cancer #1

I have pretty consistent CEA levels. When its high, cancer usually has grown quite a bit.

It has never dropped without any treatment. And my doctor says it's not possible for it to drop without treatment. However last result it drop about 25%! (330 -250 w/o treament). Unfortunately, current CT scan vs 3 months ago shows tumors has grown and mets in more places. I understand that as my CEA levels is around 250. The previous CT scan, CEA was like 150.

Does the drop in CEA means that some of my tumors has gone/shrunk compared to when CEA was 330? anyone experience this? Of course doctors here tell me CEA is only used as a guideline and the only accurate thing is scans like CT.

Anyone has any experience of it dropping without treatment and at the same time it has been quite an accurate marker for you?



  • Diane_K
    Diane_K Member Posts: 84 Member

    Hi CKHope,

    I have not had wide fluctuations in my CEA level. Yours going down 25% is quite a drop! I hope your next scan shows good results.

    Hoping for the best for you.

  • Real Tar Heel
    Real Tar Heel Member Posts: 307 Member

    Yes, for me this summer it started dropping exponentially for months after I stopped treatment. The plan was to restart treatment with a new drug after I came back from a vacation. In that interim, my levels started climbing and fast! But when the CEA was going down, there was no change in the size of the tumors.

    CEA is one of the many mysteries we deal with in treatment. Scans seem to be the only reliable diagnosis for how well treatment is actually working right now. Maybe doctors should reconsider giving those test results to patients. We can see here it mostly causes anxiety or confusion for patients.

  • tanstaafl
    tanstaafl Member Posts: 1,313 Member

    The greatest noncancer drops that I have seen were related to inflammation like a surge following RFA etc of liver mets.

    If the 330 is an isolated value, I would question that and a transient. I've always been happier with a lot of anti-inflammatory nutrients for my wife to smooth the noise component, and better, more frequent blood tests to track what's going on. A non-symptomatic virus can whack markers.

  • Capox Dude
    Capox Dude Member Posts: 120 Member

    My post surgery CEA went from 1.3 to over 15. No reason we could find save my irritated lungs w/ asthma. Then a year ago it started slowly dropping, and this last Saturday it was 1.7, down from 3.4 six months ago. My onc tells me not to focus on CEA.