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

LSU2001
LSU2001 Member Posts: 32

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

«1

Comments

  • abrub
    abrub Member Posts: 2,174 Member
    edited April 2021 #2
    thank you

    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.

  • SandiaBuddy
    SandiaBuddy Member Posts: 1,262 Member
    Thanks

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

  • abrub
    abrub Member Posts: 2,174 Member
    abrub said:

    thank you

    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.

    CT is clear.

    No indication of why CEA went up.

  • NewHere
    NewHere Member Posts: 1,390 Member
    edited April 2021 #5
    Vaccine Lit Up PET Scan

    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
    grammadebbie Member Posts: 464
    NewHere said:

    Vaccine Lit Up PET Scan

    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.)   

    I had Covid in November and

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

  • Hkla98
    Hkla98 Member Posts: 1 Member
    I completed my radiation on

    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
    NewHere Member Posts: 1,390 Member
    edited May 2021 #8
    An Addition My CEA dropped (after an increase)

    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

  • sreekanth
    sreekanth Member Posts: 57 Member
    edited July 2021 #9
    Hi Tim (LSU2001):

    Hi Tim (LSU2001):

    I have a similar experience.

    I came to this forum because I am perplexed with my CEA results. My cancer history and CEA results are shown below. My CEA has always been normal for the last four years. Suddenly last week, it was measured at 15.6 and today (after 5 days) at 17.3 ! It seems to be going up by multiple points in few days. Anyone in the same boat.?How long did CEA rise for you guys before a scan picked up some tumor? my covid vaccination occurred three months ago.

    I feel fine but I worry I have some unseen  tumor somewhere that is growing . I have a colonoscopy in a week

     -------------



    3/21/17: Dx T3N0M0- distal rectal cancer, 4.5cm tumor, 2.5 cm from anal verge
    4/18 to 5/22/17: chemoradiation - Xeloda 1800mg twice a day for 25 days, 200 Cgy/day
    6/28/17: biopsy shows no cancer
    8/09/17: MRI - no primary tumor left, starts wait and watch
    8/17/17 to 12/1/17: mop-up chemo with Folfox and oxaliplatin (IV infusion), every two weeks
    5/19 expanding right lung nodule, 8mm
    8/19 VATS wedge
    9/19, 12/19, 4/20, 7/20, 1/21- Clean CT, MRI, NED
    7/17/21- Clean scans, CEA 15.6 !
    7/22/21- CEA 17.3 !


  • sreekanth
    sreekanth Member Posts: 57 Member
    No documentation online regarding Covid vaccination and high CEA

    I have not found any research  online that suggests that Covid vaccination and high CEA numbers could be related. So I am inclined to believe that there is no such correlation. 

    Covid infection and CEA rates are related. There are several papers suggesting that

  • sreekanth
    sreekanth Member Posts: 57 Member
    abrub said:

    CT is clear.

    No indication of why CEA went up.

    So sorry to see your post

    So sorry to see your post from June 2021 about spine and lung mets. That would explain the CEA rise. 
    If the CT scan was clear, was it the PET scan that identified these mets?

    I am now concerned that my own elavated CEA might be of a similar nature :(

  • Capox Dude
    Capox Dude Member Posts: 84 Member
    edited August 2021 #12
    CEA Range

    My CEA has been way high.   But I have bad lungs and mucus plugs and inflammation.  Heck, I had a CEA of 17 sixteen years before my cancer.   And I have seen articles about high CEA and lung issues.   So we can't assume the worst. 

  • sreekanth
    sreekanth Member Posts: 57 Member

    CEA Range

    My CEA has been way high.   But I have bad lungs and mucus plugs and inflammation.  Heck, I had a CEA of 17 sixteen years before my cancer.   And I have seen articles about high CEA and lung issues.   So we can't assume the worst. 

    My PET scan revealed a single

    My PET scan revealed a single lymph node in pelvic region that lit up . It is not too big - 1.2cmx1.6 cm but had increased FDG uptake. 

    Maybe that is causing the CEA rise. It has been ruled a disease recurrence :( unless proved otherwise

  • sreekanth
    sreekanth Member Posts: 57 Member
    edited August 2021 #14
    sreekanth said:

    My PET scan revealed a single

    My PET scan revealed a single lymph node in pelvic region that lit up . It is not too big - 1.2cmx1.6 cm but had increased FDG uptake. 

    Maybe that is causing the CEA rise. It has been ruled a disease recurrence :( unless proved otherwise

    Biopsy shows positive for

    Biopsy shows positive for metastatic adenocarcinoma

  • abita
    abita Member Posts: 1,115 Member
    sreekanth said:

    Biopsy shows positive for

    Biopsy shows positive for metastatic adenocarcinoma

    sorry to hear that 

    sorry to hear that 

  • OnTheRoad
    OnTheRoad Member Posts: 29
    sreekanth said:

    Biopsy shows positive for

    Biopsy shows positive for metastatic adenocarcinoma

    I am sorry for this bad news

    I am sorry to heat this, Sreekanth. At least this is a single met and possibly curable. 

    Is it is not systemic, maybe it is a good idea to get rid of this one ! Smile

    I wish success for you on your treatment moving forward.

  • Real Tar Heel
    Real Tar Heel Member Posts: 296 Member
    edited August 2021 #17
    sreekanth said:

    Biopsy shows positive for

    Biopsy shows positive for metastatic adenocarcinoma

    Any mets are not great news

    Any mets are not great news but having just one small one can be a silver lining. I would suggest asking about liquid biopsy before talking about treatment options. Maybe you want to do neo-adjuvant chemo before a surgical option.

  • sreekanth
    sreekanth Member Posts: 57 Member
    OnTheRoad said:

    I am sorry for this bad news

    I am sorry to heat this, Sreekanth. At least this is a single met and possibly curable. 

    Is it is not systemic, maybe it is a good idea to get rid of this one ! Smile

    I wish success for you on your treatment moving forward.

    Thank you OnTheRoad for your

    Thank you OnTheRoad for your kind words. Every kind word helps me. The external iliac lymph node is treated as a metastasis by American doctors while it is treated as local recurrence by Asian doctors. There is no consensus. :(

  • sreekanth
    sreekanth Member Posts: 57 Member

    Any mets are not great news

    Any mets are not great news but having just one small one can be a silver lining. I would suggest asking about liquid biopsy before talking about treatment options. Maybe you want to do neo-adjuvant chemo before a surgical option.

    Thank you Real Tar Heel for

    Thank you Real Tar Heel for your advice and kind words. I need it now. 
    I will talk to the oncologist about treatment plans. I dont have an appointment yet with him. I have read that it is harder to operate and remove lymph nodes once they are already shrunk from chemo. I really dont know what is the best option. It is also a location that is 'hard to operate'. I hope there are experienced surgeons in Minnesota who are willing to do this.

  • SnapDragon2
    SnapDragon2 Member Posts: 646 Member
    sreekanth said:

    Thank you Real Tar Heel for

    Thank you Real Tar Heel for your advice and kind words. I need it now. 
    I will talk to the oncologist about treatment plans. I dont have an appointment yet with him. I have read that it is harder to operate and remove lymph nodes once they are already shrunk from chemo. I really dont know what is the best option. It is also a location that is 'hard to operate'. I hope there are experienced surgeons in Minnesota who are willing to do this.

    I'm sure you will have to

    I'm sure you will have to interview several.  Many Mayo trained surgeons go on to other places near and far to make a name for themselves.  My surgeon came from there for example.  He was Harvard educated, Mayo trained.

    If you have a few weeks maybe get on the surgical consults before any chemo is rx'd as not to miss any potential surgery boat.  As we all know oncologist know chemo and not surgery.

  • JJRies
    JJRies Member Posts: 1
    edited October 2021 #21
    Encouraging news!

    My Dad's CEA originally got as high as 34.7 pre-chemo. After 12 rounds he was all the way down to 4.3!!! He is stage 4 so, though he cannot go into remission, we are hopeful to manage it. He had the vaccine in March of this year. Out of no where his CEA has jumped from 4.3 to 5.5 to 12 to 15 to 17 to 22.2 to 30!!!

    we had him have a cat scan AND a PET scan. Both showed reduced size in tumors, no new growth!! We are bewildered by the crazy jump in his CEA. Though, I am aware it is not the only indicator for concern, the spike is so crazy, they had to start him back on full blown heavy chemo. Ugh!! My Dad is so sad. We really thought we had this under control. With no new visible growths and even a slight decrease in size, his oncologists at Cleveland Clinic are concerned. 

    hearing that MD Anderson is seeing this same unusual unexplained spike with clear scans as well, is encouragin. My Dad is not alone. 

    thank you for sharing this news! It has brought some relief to our family, as a possibility that the vaccine could be an explanation as to this odd trend. 

    all we have is hope, right? Keep praying y'all! Keep fighting! Hugs to all effected by this ugly disease.