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vj1's picture
Posts: 151
Joined: Jun 2010

I was diagnosed a year ago this May with stage 3 ovarian cancer. I have been reading many posts on the discussion board and see that many have had original ca125 at 1000 and way above. Mine was at 111 before surgery and then down to 7.2 and I have been holding at 5.2.
pet/negative and I feel great. Has anyone else ever had a low ca125 to begin with; I get confused when I see such high numbers. Thank you all---this is a great informative sight!

Barbara53's picture
Posts: 658
Joined: Aug 2009

There is a very wide range, but like you, my mother's CA125 was comparatively low when she was diagnosed 3c/4: 300. After first line chemo it dropped into the 20's but no lower. She was not as lucky as you, but she's doing okay all things considered.

Looks to me like you need to say yippee and keep enjoying your life!

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Hissy_Fitz's picture
Posts: 1869
Joined: Sep 2009

Mine was 4000 prior to surgery and has ranged between 4.8 and 7.3 for the last six months or so. I too am in remission, after 6 rounds of IV chemo (Carbo/Taxol). I am doing a year of Taxol maintenance now....my "ace in the hole".

There have been a lot of studies which attempted to answer the same questions you have, regarding CA 125 levels and prognosis.

You can go here (http://www.ovarianresearch.com/content/2/1/13) and pull up a number of different tables/studies. This is the Journal of Ovarian Research.

Briefly, these studies had mixed results (except for stage 1) when attempting to determine if the preoperative CA125 level had any significant coorelation to overall survival. Most, however, concluded that there was none.

The most "agreement" in the studies cited here was for CA125 levels after 6 treatments of Carbo/Taxol. A normal CA125 at the end of initial treatment may be a good indicator of survival. Not included here, but in some other study I read somewhere, was the opinion that a CA125 below 10 after initial treatment was an even better indication of prognosis.

Some studies also show that a marked reduction in CA125 levels after de-bulking surgery, but before chemo, as well as early response to chemo (normal CA125 by the end of the second round of treatment), is a good indication of disease-free survival at 12 months.
In other words, no recurrance 12 months after surgery. The trouble with this one, in my opinion, is that complications from the surgery itself can keep the CA125 above normal.


leesag's picture
Posts: 625
Joined: Jan 2010

I can't remember where I read this, but I remember reading a post on one of the boards I frequent that went something like this....

"When I asked my doctor about statistics, he reminded me that I am a statistic of one, and that's all that matters."

I just keep reminding myself of that. Ca125 be darned. My CT scan is clear and 14 is normal (dropped from almost 10,000) so that works for me ;)

I understand that the CA125 can continue to drop for a few months after treatment has ended as well. I'm still holding out hope for those single digits ;)

Hissy_Fitz's picture
Posts: 1869
Joined: Sep 2009

Leesa....my nadir was 4.8 and I did not reach it until 3 1/2 months after I completed my chemo.

My doctor told me my CA125 might continue to fall for 90 days or so (after treatment), and by golly, it did.

I think 10,000 to 14 definitely indicates a good response. That is huge!

By the way....I have only read the "single digit" theory in one study. All the others say if your CA125 is within normal limits after chemo, your chances of going at least a year without a recurrence are better.


pjdreams's picture
Posts: 79
Joined: May 2010


Mine was 262 when I was diagnosed 1 year ago. It dropped steadily during chemo. My last check it was 7. I'm do for another test in 1 week.

South Jersey
Posts: 89
Joined: Apr 2010

I did not have a CA125 test before surgery (my cancer was found during surgery for a fibroid), but after surgery it was 170. After six rounds of chemo (I finished 12/10/09), it has been between 13-15.

Tina Brown's picture
Tina Brown
Posts: 1054
Joined: Nov 2009

My CA 125 was 1119 at diagnosis. During chemo I had fantastic drops from 886 to 229 (I think!) After treatment finshed it was 65 and then 2 months later it dropped again to 34 (just within the normal range) So yes, it continued working for me 2 months after treatment ended. I go for my next test in 2 weeks so I am hoping it is still 34 at least. If it drops again I will be so pleased :)


Lmm041's picture
Posts: 33
Joined: Jul 2010

My wife was diagnosed with stage IV OVA in March of this year. Her first CA-125 prior to chemo was 266. She had three rounds of neoadjuvant chemotherapy (Carbo/Taxol) prior to her de-bulking surgery in June.

So, she went from a count of 266 to a 10 prior to surgery (June 17).

After surgery, she had a CA-125 test prior to her next chemo on July 8th. Her number increased to a 27. Our oncologist attributed this rise to the surgery itself.

Her last test (July 28) was conducted prior to her 5th chemo treatment (2nd post-operative) and she was down to a 2 (YES!).

She has he last chemo (hopefully forever!) in two weeks. I will keep y'all updated to her progress.

kellyh33's picture
Posts: 288
Joined: Jul 2010

The numbers and what they mean confuse me too. Mom was diagnosed June 18th with CA 125 numbers of 14,000. After her first chemo they went down to 8,3000 and after her second chemo to 6,800. She is scheduled to have surgery September 3rd.
I hoped after her second chemo they would be much lower but at least they are dropping. Yesterday Mom cleaned the entire house which she hadn't been able to do in the last 4 months or so due to exhaustion so we are looking at this as a positive sign.
Still all the what ifs and the unknown keep me up at night. Hope all of this is behind us in the new year.

nancy591's picture
Posts: 1057
Joined: Sep 2009

My ca125 was 720 prior to surgery, 70 after suregery prior to chemo. My last ca125 a month after chemo was a 7. My recurrence was confirmed almost 8 months later with a ca125 of 10.

newhopechurchli's picture
Posts: 127
Joined: Oct 2008

My name is Tricia. I do not come on the discussion board too often.... but your ca125 caught my eye. I was surprised to see a recurrance with only a ca125 of 10.... the number is so low! Obviously they found activity through your tests and not blood test numbers! I'm sure this must mean you caught it early!!!! I will pray for you. BTW - you look beautiful in your picture :)

Hissy_Fitz's picture
Posts: 1869
Joined: Sep 2009

Exactly! There just is no hard and fast "rule". See Leesa's comments regarding statistics!

I'm off to the meeting of my local chapter of the NOCC. We have a 5K run/walk coming up in September. And I am hosting another birthday dinner this evening. I have become the hottest hostess in town lately - a grad party and 4 birthday dinners/parties in the last 2 1/2 months.


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