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Switching Treatment & CEA Level

jcavanaugh
Posts: 100
Joined: Mar 2004

Since June, my dad (stage IV since May 2002) has been receiving vextibux and campostar. His cea level went from 128 to 14 by September 10. He had a CT Scan which showed shrinkage in the lung mets but no change in the liver mets (stable). The doctor did not want to do a pet scan. He claimed that they were too small to be seen on a PET scan. I do not understand because we had a PET Scan in January 05 that showed an extremely small spot. So, he switched his treatment to erbitrux and added a pump for the weekend (every other). Well, he has been on the new regiment for a little more than two weeks and now is cea is 16.8. Well, no improvement. We are not happy. Has anyone had this happen to them when switching treatment. I know that the cea is not a marker for everyone but it is a marker for my dad (more than one oncologist has commented on this). We think that the stable tumors in the liver might be dead (heard that this has happened to others). We see this oncologist on Friday and will see a specialist next Tuesday (10/23) to discuss other options (cyberknife or ablation). Any thoughts???

vinny3's picture
vinny3
Posts: 933
Joined: Jun 2006

There probably isn't any additional benefit from getting a PET scan as one has to consider the options. If it was negative one still would probably want to continue treatment and if positive would continue treatment as well. I'm not sure why the switch in the chemo. It appears that it was doing something. Did he say just why that was? I'm not being critical but just thought getting the reasoning behind it would help you and others here. Considering that his CEA went from 128 to 14 the change to 16.8 may not be significant but needs to be rechecked again fairly soon. As far as the surgical options I would continue to pursue that. Whatever can be done to remove any tumor mass, within reasonable safety limits, is usually helpful as the body/chemo has a smaller amount to work against.

Dick

lv2scrap
Posts: 44
Joined: Jul 2007

Hi, I too am taking care of my dad. He is stage iv since Dec. 05. He started with CEA at 1500. Yeah...1500. He did oxilaplatin and 5fu which brought it down to the 200s. Had to stop because he reached 12 cycles and the neuropathy. Went on Xeloda & Avasitn for 4 months cea started creaping up. He was put on Campostar it was working very well but his doctor left and the new doctor said the skin rash was too severe that we needed to change to erbitux. That failed. So now they said he is running out of options. They are now cycling his chemo. We are back on Oxi & 5Fu. They gave him the wrong dose for the 1st 4 cycles. I had to figure that one out on my own. Anyhow they said it is not working. His numbers have been creaping up again. They dropped 300 points in the middle of this treatment even though the dose was wrong. He is now on the correct tx and for only 2 cycle and they will check his cea and do a Pet scan. The doctor says even though he only got half the dose for the first 4 cycles it still dosen't really make a difference. I find that hard to believe. I pray that the chemo works now. He cea is back at 1500. We refuse to think we are out of options. Your dad has been fighting this since 2002 with only that regimin? That is really good. His cea is very low compared to my dad. I hope my info helped. Let me know if you need anymore info.

~lv2scrap

hopefulone
Posts: 1048
Joined: Jan 2007

Hi. I'm also puzzled why the treatment regimen he was on was discontinued but perhaps the doc thought the new regimen might produce a change in the liver mets. You are right about the cea marker not being of real benefit for everyone. My husbands was only at 10 when he was dx with stage iv . It sounds like your dad's cea is a good marker for him though and I'd be asking the onc why the switch and from personal experience definately pursue other options, rfa etc. Resection is sometimes also possible on lung mets. We were also told a second pet scan would be of no benefit as the liver mets were too small.(but they showed up on the first as well) A mri proved of more benefit later on in my hubby's case after numerous ct's and was the definitive scan on the surgeon deciding to do liver resection. Good luck and keeping your dad in my prayers. God Bless, Diane

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