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CEA rising with No Evidence of Progression (Covid related maybe)

LSU2001
Posts: 28
Joined: Dec 2017

Good Afternoon Everyone,

I just returned from my regular 3-month lab work, CT scan, and Appt. with Oncologist at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.  The lab work had a very wonky CEA reading.  Back in November, I had one lesion on my liver that was growing larger despite being on Folfiri + Erbitux.  Doc decided to ablate that lesion and my CEA dropped from 17 back down to around 7 and stayed there for a while.   On this visit, my CEA had doubled from my January reading of 7 to a new reading of 15.4. The results of the latest CT scan show no evidence of any progression or growth and it says that everything is stable with no progression from my January visit.  My Oncologist at MDA said that they have been seeing more patients with CEA levels rising with no indication of progression or growth.  He said that while there aren't any studies on this, the only correlation they can see is recent Covid 19 Vaccination.  He told me that their best guess is that by triggering an immune response with the vaccine they are also tr.iggering an increase in CEA levels.  I did a bit of searching on Dr. Google and I did find a couple of studies from China that show an increase in CEA levels to >5 in people with an active Covid 19 infection.  The studies also were able to find a correlation between the severity of the Covid 19 disease and CEA levels.  It seems that the worse the illness was for a patient the higher the CEA levels.  

While I feel a bit relieved that the rise in my CEA level could be a result of getting the Covid vaccine, I am still nervous about it because, since the very beginning of this fight, my CEA level has been an accurate indicator of tumor growth and progression.   Every time my CEA level increased, they found tumor growth and progression.  Doc said that they will be monitoring the CEA level closely for the next couple of months to see if it begins to drop or if it continues to rise.  If it continues to rise, I will have to go back to MD Anderson earlier than the normal 3 -month check-up for more tests to try to find out what exactly is causing the rise in CEA.  If it drops then that would indicate that the response to the vaccine is most likely to blame. 

I hope this helps anyone who is seeing odd CEA results after getting the Covid 19 vaccine.  I had the Moderna vaccine but the doc did not differentiate between the various vaccines when he told me about the CEA issues they have been seeing. if anyone else has had this issue please chime in with your experiences.

Thanks,

Tim

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 2158
Joined: Mar 2010

That may explain my recent increase in CEA.  Just had aCT scan today to see if anything is going on.   I had my vaccines recently.

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 2158
Joined: Mar 2010

No indication of why CEA went up.

SandiaBuddy's picture
SandiaBuddy
Posts: 1172
Joined: Apr 2017

Interesting.  Thanks for the heads up.  Hopefully it all comes out well for you.

NewHere's picture
NewHere
Posts: 1333
Joined: Feb 2015

I had a COVID shot (second) about a week before a PET Scan.  New lymph nodes showed up as uptake in left arm.  Report said vaccine in all likelihood (and could affect other parts of scan also, when I spoke to my radiation onc about results.)   

grammadebbie's picture
grammadebbie
Posts: 464
Joined: Jun 2009

I had Covid in November and my CEA was 3.2 prior to Covid and now is  6.4.  Interesting

Hkla98
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2019

I completed my radiation on April 14 and 2nd Moderna vaccine on April 21, last week.

Today, my CEA is skyrocketing from 8 in March to 28.  I'm freaking out and have asked my Oncologist for early CT scan.  

I'm really hope vaccine caused the spike.

Thank your for your post.  It's really calming me down a little bit.

NewHere's picture
NewHere
Posts: 1333
Joined: Feb 2015

My CEA has been increasing since I started new chemo (had not had a test for awhile before new chemo, but have had it measured again the last year as I went on new chemo.)

There was a big jump (relatively speaking ) out of nowhere a month ago.  About a week after my vaccine.   CEA measured today about a month later.  First drop in CEA in over a year.  S

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