re:CA 125 - the normal range is up to 35, yet i keep reading that individuale who have been diag with OVCA have been concerned when the level rises to say 18 or 20. what i want to know is, my wife who had an excellent reponses to her treatments of taxol/cabol, had ca125 ranging between 8.8 - 10. these levels were reached during treatments and 1 or 2 months after treatment. her last blood test showed her ca125 at 16. this was a bit worrysome, even tho its less that half of the upper level of 35. her ASI and ALT were slightly elivated. i dont know if their elevations could impact a very sensitive marker like the CA125. basically what i am asking is whether during chemo treatments your CA125 would produce lower than what your normal levels would. therefore when your treatments end, 6 months later the CA125 might settle in the mid teen for examlpe as a normal level for that individuals. i assume every individual would have a different "normal" level
A year ago, my CA-125 level was 135 and there was something on my left ovary that on ultrasound and MRI either looked like a complex cyst or a hydrosalpinx. They also thought they saw omental caking on CT. The doctors got very worried and wanted to do surgery immediately. I refused the surgery. Now, a year later, my CA-125 came back at 14. Go figure.
Measuring CA125 levels is very much like analysing microbiological samples. It is all to do with trend analysis rather than actual figures (in general).
Each person will have a different 'natural' level of the marker, plus the test is notoriously dificult to interpret due to false positives.
My mother was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer a few years ago and was treated by full hysterectomy and followed with 6 treatments of taxol/carbo. This reduced her CA125 level down to ~5 and MRI analysis showed no sign of any tumour remaining. She continued to have regular checks as expected and her CA125 level stayed fairly steady with only a flucutation of 2-3. Due to the steady levels of the initial testing periods it is common to increase the time between tests and they eventually became 6 monthly. 2 years after her original diagnosis, she went back for her first test after a 6 month gap and found that her CA125 levels had increased to about 25. This wasn't above the 'limit' that you have mentioned, but it was a significant rise and so regular tests were done over the next 3 weeks to see the trends. It just so happened that the levels started to rocket upwards (doubling every week) and so they decided to do more tests and another MRI.
Obviously, she had no ovaries, so there was no growth on those, but it was found that secondary metastases had spread the cancer to her lymphatic system (nodes). This is unfortunately incurable, but fortunately treatable (prognosis depends upon how well treatment goes and how aggressive the cancer becomes).
Yet again, she went onto chemo (same treatment as before) and continued for 6 treatments, seeing her CA125 levels drop to 4 and tumour growth had ceased (not regression, but no progression).
Her results have been very low for a couple of months and all looked well, but this week she received results showing an increase in CA125 up to 11. This is still 'low' but it is yet again a significant increase, so we are a little concerned. She had another test taken on tuesday and we hopefully will get results back soon. The levels may just even out in the 'teens', we aren't sure. Just hoping they do start to rocket again.
All in all. It isn't the 'actual figure' you get for the CA125, it is all to do with the trends you see, as already stated by the forum 'official'. I hope your levels remain steady and that treatment continues to be effective.
My wife was diagnosed with type 3 Ovarian cancer in January of 2003 and almost died three times last year. Praise he Lord she went into remission during the latter part of 2003 after two major surgeries and several months in the hospital. She took the standard chemo and her CA-125 levels ran from 44, 55, 75, 66, all year.
During her second quarterly checkup after being in remission they found her CA-125 level up to 265 (April 2004). She went in for a CT and they found more lymph nodes that had increase in size from less than 1 cm to more than 2 cm and they saw something on her lung.
They told us that she now has what is commonly called recurrent ovarian cancer and she had her first Chemo with doxil the first of May 2004.
We went last week to the doctor and her CA-125 is up to 707. I can't find anywhere where anyone has ever had one that high. She goes in tomorrow for her second doxil treatment and they tell us that it sometimes takes several treatments before it starts to take effect.
Has anyone ever had levels of CA-125 this high? We could use some encouragement.
I got rushed in to hospital with a ruptured cyst a couple of years ago and my CA 125 level was >4000. I discovered whilst being operated on that I have endometriosis. My CA 125 level was tested in November last year and it was >400 now 6 months later is is down to 168.
What my Dr does is keep a close track of my CA readings, and if I have 3 consecutive rises then he will start looking in to what is going on. If the CA is a good indicatoer for you (and for many it is not) then he will follow up as he sees best.
In the past I've envied those who have very low CA.125 numbers, but as I've been dealing with this cancer for over 4 years now (Stage4)...and with CA.125 numbers in 1000s, I've come to the conclusion that they are only just that....numbers. My Oncol. has tried to instil in my mind, not to take any notice of my numbers, but rather go by how I feel. He tells me that he has patients with much lower CA.125's than me, yet they have more active cancer than I. So, I would say.... don't place too much importance on the CA.125. It serves as a guide in many cases, so that we have some idea if the chemos are working or not, but it seems, it doesn't tell the true story of what's happening in many cases. My current CA.125 is 5014, but I'm feeling well, and still leading an active life.
Wishing everyone well...hugs...Helen...
I have had ca125 results of 2000 plus, I also have had them as low as 6. I believe that the test is not always accurate and will read a false-positive. My advice always have the test drawn at the same lab and instead of focusing on the number, look at trend... is it going up or down. Good luck, Withe
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