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CEA decreased but onco says cannot continue treatment...

Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2021

My mom was diagnosed with MET colorectal last year which had Metastasized to liver, bilobar. Her CEA at that time was 1600, her first line treatment went well,  but within 3 months we were back to square one.  At this time her CEA dropped to 800.

With second line chemo the recent PET scan showed that the size of the cells have increased.  Onco says the cells have become resistant and cannot continue any further treatment. Her CEA is around 330 now.

I am confused, as reduced CEA means something positive is going inside. Anyone experienced any similar case?



NewHere's picture
Posts: 1330
Joined: Feb 2015

Welcome to the boards, I am sorry you have to be there.

I have had two chemos stop working.  And perhaps a third shortly, have a scan tomorrow. My oncologist says in general chemo works about a year, though many people have results that last longer.  Chemotherapy can increase CEA while it is working, then can have CEA drop.  In fact I was happy to see my CEA start increasing on my current chemo.  For a bit...

In general CEA is not perfect and the scsans may give a better sense.  You can ask about the size of increase and if there are timing/reading issues.  In other words, sometimes scans or the people reading them are not perfect.  If I have a .2 cm tumor that goes to .3 cm I would be asking.  if it goes from 2.5 cm to 3.8 cm, less of a chance of a "false increase"


abita's picture
Posts: 1010
Joined: Dec 2017

I think you should clarify if they are saying no further treatment with this chemo, or with any. If it is the latter, immediately, I would suggest getting a second opinion. Granted there is a lot of factors, like mutations, that affect how many treatment protocols there are for you, but I find it really hard to believe that there were only 2.

CEA was a great indicator for me my first go round. But PET scans are very definite in their results, and from what I have gleaned, are the ultimate in accuracy in seeing the cancer.

abita's picture
Posts: 1010
Joined: Dec 2017

you didn't say if first line treatment involved surgery. If it was chemo only, yeah, the liver mets will shrink, but they are still teeny tiny remnants that grow when the chemo stops. 

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