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CA125 results

Posts: 130
Joined: Feb 2011

I am somewhat new to this cancer journey. I was diagnosed 6 months ago with UPSC Stage 1B. I have finished 6 rounds of chemo and just finished 3 brachytherapy radiation sessions. I have my CA125 monitored monthly. Before surgery I was 22.2 (not really high) it went up after surgery and then came back down. May was 7.9 (my lowest reading), June was 8.8 and July was 11.5. The test was taken on July 27th but I just phoned in for the results today. My doctor previously told me that he thought that I would probably average around 8. This 11.5 reading has really thrown me. I am not able to talk to my oncologist until in September at my next appointment. If I call in I can only talk to one of the nurses. I am very disturbed by this 11.5 result since this test was taken 3 weeks after my last chemo. I had my first brachytherapy on July 22 and this test on July 27. Does brachy therapy make your CA125 increase? Also, does everyone's CA125 vary by that much or should I panic????? Has anyone had an increase in CA125 like this so close to the end of chemo?
I know this is not a huge increase but it still worries me since I have just finished treatment about a week ago and everyone watches their CA125 so closely.


daisy366's picture
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

My understanding that numbers can vary slightly. This is a very small difference and well within the normal limits (under 30). My doc tells me that he looks at the TREND of my numbers not each individual test. When scores double in short time, this is a red flag.

If it were me, I would call my chemo nurse and tell her your concerns and ask for her explanation or ask her to consult with doc and call you back. I would hope she would comply with this reasonable request.

I for one, am not monitoring my CA125 for that very reason. I've asked doc to let me know if there is something to worry about and he's fine with this.

It's hard (I've been there many times!!!!!) but I urge you to reserve all that worrying until you have been told there's a problem.

Also, look for another recent discussion about CA125 for responses.

Hang in there. Mary Ann

lkchapman's picture
Posts: 106
Joined: Jan 2011

Hi Pat,
I believe they changed the testing methodology which caused everyone's number to jump up a bit. I wouldn't worry too much about it. Mine jumped from a pretty steady 8.5 to 15 when it was last taken in July.

I'll bet your next number will have stabilized.


Posts: 92
Joined: Feb 2010

CA 125 is used mostly for ovarian cancer. My family doctor, my gyn/oncol and relative who is nurse practicioner all have stated this test is not primarily used for uterine. However, it is the only thing going for us at this time. My gyn/oncol hospital changed the methodology of my 2 1/2 years of their CA 125 scale 35. Change to new methodology and jumped from 14.7 to 21 in 4 months ! Had another CA 125 used by Quest with scale 21 and my results were 16 at my home town lab (w/my doctor's permission). The company brand & scale or different from the type used by my doctor & treating facility. My doctor will explain this at next appt.

My research states can't compare different CA 125 manufacturers with differnt scales, etc.
So, now I don't know if the former test CA 125 used for me for over 2 1/2 years was not best, good, etc. over the newer form of CA 125. All this just leads to confusion for many of us. I will have another test at my gyn/onc soon & hopefully it has jumped again. No matter what, this test can be false positive and negative. I was a 14 CA 125 at time of diagnosis & I had UPSC, nothing showed on scans.
New research is showing the idea that a doubling of CA 125 or consistent rises can mean possible come back. However the data is not in on this idea.This is still not conclusive.
Some research is way over my head. I just have provided some. Throw out what you don't need etc.
Each of us are individuals & our doctors know our personal history. Mine might not be like yours etc. Always go to the health care people you believe in & trust.

Good luck and know your questions are many of your fellow sisters questions. Be your best advocate & keep asking questions. :) :)


http://www.inspire.com/groups/ovapening becauserian-cancer-national-alliance/discussion/labcorp-vs-quest-are-ca-125-levels-different/


Posts: 140
Joined: Jan 2011

your CA125 was taken shortly after the radiation therapy. This may explain the jump.

There are two kinds of scales for CA125. <20 normal scale and <35 normal scale. Number on either scale cannot be linearly converted to make them equivalent. On top of that, even among the tests using <35 normal scale, there are different testing methods and the numbers cannot be compared interchangeably.

For instance, I have my CA125 monitored both my Lapcorp and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). Labcop provided numbers all throughout my treatment and even now for my regular checkup with my Dr. At MSKCC, I am getting it tested because I am participating iin their trial and they MUST have all the data from their own lab. Both Labcorp and MSKCC use <35 scale, however, these two tests use different method.

I have noticed a consistent pattern: MSKCC numbers are usually about 3 points lower than the Labcorp numbers.

I echo the feedback provided other posters here: the only way you can use CA125 is, if you check the trend from the SAME lab over time.

All the research I have read and also input from the trial doctor from MKSCC are consistent: if the number doubles, regardless of what the absolute number is, that's a cause for concern, and probably signifies recurrence. This for women for whom CA125 is a good marker. I have UPSC and it behaves very much like ovarian cancer and requires virtually same treatment. For UPSC and ovarian cancer patients, CA125 seems to be in general a good marker. Even so there are women whose CA125 was very low when they were DX'ed with extensive/advanced disease. For these women, CA125 is not a good marker.

Kaleena's picture
Posts: 2052
Joined: Nov 2009

Dear Pat:

You never indicated whether or not you had your CA125 taken prior to your treatment. My CA125 never was an indicator. After surgery, mine was 21 and then fluctuated anywhere between 1 and 12. I had my CA125 taken for about two years after diagnosis and then stop having the test altogether. As others said, the normal range is 30 or below. I would not worry about it. Inflammation and other factors can give you a slight rise (like yours). You must realize that some woman's CA125 can be 100, 1000 or more.

Stay calm!

My best to you.


Posts: 130
Joined: Feb 2011

I did have a CA125 taken before surgery which was 22.2, which was not unusually high. After surgery it went up to about 84 then dropped after starting chemo. I was told that it showed that the chemo was working. The lowest point was in May when it was 7.9. Then it started to rise. I am hoping that this jump up is because of brachytherapy radiation. I know that I may be in a panic over nothing. But since my diagnois of UPSC I really don't feel too lucky and any slightly bad test result makes me panic.

I had some moles develop suddenly on my face, along my jaw line, between rounds 2 and 3 of chemo. I saw a derm yesterday that wants to remove them immediately thinking that they may be melanoma......just another worry! Since I just finished chemo and radiation I had hoped for some calm to regain strength before another crisis regardless how small.


Kaleena's picture
Posts: 2052
Joined: Nov 2009

Oh My, Pat.
I know just what you mean when you say you need a break from doctors and tests. I hope all your worries will go away soon. I am praying for good results so that you can enjoy your break from chemo and radiation.


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