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CEA Rising after 1st chemo

impactzone's picture
Posts: 542
Joined: Aug 2006

Hello all,
Has anyone had the experience of your CEA rising
after the 1st treatment of chemo? My onc at Stanford
said before I started that it could rise on the
first treatment.

The details are as follows. I was dx Stage 4, 1
liver met on 8/28. I had successful colon surgery
and started chemo on 10/10. I did have a CT scan
done on 10 /9 that still showed only the one liver
met. It had increased in size from the 8 /29 CT scan
from 2.1 to 2.8 cm.

I am on Erbitux, Xeloda , and Oxylaplatin with a
scheduled 3 cycles before liver surgery. That is
also why they did not add Avastin because of the
early surgery. I have met with the surgeon and tumor
board at Stanford as well. They suggested do the
chemo first to evaluate the effectiveness and
protocol for post surgery chemo. They also mentioned
the effects of post surgery growth hormones released
by the body following the colon surgery and if the
liver surgery was done in Oct they felt it would be
in my best interest in terms of preventing
reoccurance to have pre surgery chemo.

My post surgery CEA was 10.6 on 10/2. The last blood
draw had me at 17.1 after the first cycle on 10/26.
Obviously you want to see a downward trend over the
3 cycles but I was not encouraged. Any thoughts?
Thank You

vinny3's picture
Posts: 933
Joined: Jun 2006

Perhaps the chemo in attacking the cancer is destroying some cells which release the CEA enzyme. I don't really know but would listen to your oncologist, especially if he told you that before the chemo. My CEA hasn't been measured since I started chemo 4 months ago but it was extremely low even before the tumor was removed.


Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

I don't have any specific information (I'm one of those people whose CEA was never elevated, even at diagnosis, before surgery). But my understanding is that CEA can be affected by many things, and is not necessarily the best indicator of progress/progression.

Posts: 708
Joined: May 2004

The other posts are correct. Try not to get wrapped up on any individual number, especially if your onc told you it could happen. Hopefully, the chemo is kicking butt and making the tumor release the CEA.

I know it isn't easy, been there and done that, but try to just relax. It sounds like you have an incredible team with an aggressive plan of attack. Put faith in them and try to concentrate of good things around you. Surround yourself with good people. Rent every funny movie you can find and just laugh.

Come here with any fears and questions. :) Hang in there and stay strong. jana

Posts: 8
Joined: Nov 2006

Hang in there and try not to be so focused on the numbers. My CEA was 22 at diagnosis, my oncologist informed me that many things change the rise and fall of your CEA, not just the cancer. Take it easy and give the chemo a chance to do its thing, it works i too was stage 4 when they found mine with 2 mets to the liver and 15-20 in each lung. i am here and cancer free today. i will be praying for you, god bless you.

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