CA 19-9 and pancreatic cancer: What do the numbers mean?

Posted by lisarlee @lisarlee, Feb 1, 2020

What is your opinion on these numbers? Was diagnosed in September 2019 and my ca 19-9 was 7500. New number yesterday was 909 after 9 chemo sessions. Is this good news or a wasted test?

Liked by lucky1038, jachawk

Hello- I would say this is GOOD news. With the decrease in CA19-9 you can "assume" you are responding to treatment……

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@colorafo19

My husband started out at 24,000!!!! He is now down to 64.

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Wow- that's amazing. Can you share a little bit about his story and treatment?

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@ginathemom

I've read so much about the CA19-9 markers and still get confused about it. I heard that it could rise after starting chemo or being off it and then back on it…. Has it gone up more than one time?

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No, just since finishing radiation/chemo pills. He was wiped out the first 2.5 weeks after rad/onc with a lot of fatigue and brain fog. It finally lifted and he's feeling good. Then, we got the new number, also from a different lab. See doc in a couple weeks and will repeat tests. Possibilities could be bad test, shedding, cancer.

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CA19-9 is for watching trends, not to be used as absolute number every single time. If his number is going down, that is good. In my case, neither Radiation or Chemo ever changed my result. Scans are really what will tell you what’s happening, then the blood tests are used as additional info.

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@mira24

CA19-9 is for watching trends, not to be used as absolute number every single time. If his number is going down, that is good. In my case, neither Radiation or Chemo ever changed my result. Scans are really what will tell you what’s happening, then the blood tests are used as additional info.

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Thank you. We are looking at it as shedding and believing in healing. You're right, looking for a dark pet.

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@ginathemom

Wow- that's amazing. Can you share a little bit about his story and treatment?

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My husband was diagnosed in Nov 2017. He start chemo in Dec 2017. He had 8 months of chemo and 6 weeks of radiation and a chemo pump. Our surgeon at Mayo Rochester wanted the CA 10-9 at 200 or lower before he would perform the Whipple. In Nov 2018 the Whipple was done at mayo in Rochester. It was a success. He handle the chemo and radiation very well. Yes there were times that he felt yucky but knew he had to keep on pushing!!! And he did. His CA19-9 continually went down throughout treatment. Maybe not as fast as we would have liked but it did go down. That number is not the only piece of the puzzle that we need to look at but in his case it was a very important piece. His tumor did shrink also with the chemo/radiation. He had 9 months after the surgery with no chemo/radiation and no signs of any new cancer. That was until Feb 2019 when on a chest X-ray they found nodules on his lungs. Further imaging and a biopsy confirmed it was the same cell make up as the pancreatic cancer. So now it as metastized to his lungs. So more chemo. It has been a journey but with many prayers and support and the great Doctors and Mayo Rochester things are looking up.

Liked by simoneduda1, debsid

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Believing in healing

Liked by colorado19

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@debsid

We rely on seeing the tumor markers go down to show we are going in the right direction.

Have any of you had your ca19-9 go up after chemo and rad/onc? Hubby's went up after consistently going down. Said it could be shedding cells. Trying to learn more about it… very concerning. Thanks. Believing in healing

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My wife's ca19-9 dropped consistently throughout 9 folfironox treatments and further after sbrt prior to surgery. During surgery, the biopsies and margins were all negative. The surgeon said that the tumor was fully necrotic and no further chemo or radiation required. The first ca19-9 after surgery was under 30. In 3 ca19-9's in the 5 months since surgery it has risen a bit to almost 60. Her MRI's and CT scans have all been clear. The oncologist says that her liver numbers are still far out of whack from the chemo and that has an effect on the ca19-9 readings. Assuming the oncologist's assessment is accurate, liver function also impacts the ca19-9 reading.

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@beachdog

My wife's ca19-9 dropped consistently throughout 9 folfironox treatments and further after sbrt prior to surgery. During surgery, the biopsies and margins were all negative. The surgeon said that the tumor was fully necrotic and no further chemo or radiation required. The first ca19-9 after surgery was under 30. In 3 ca19-9's in the 5 months since surgery it has risen a bit to almost 60. Her MRI's and CT scans have all been clear. The oncologist says that her liver numbers are still far out of whack from the chemo and that has an effect on the ca19-9 readings. Assuming the oncologist's assessment is accurate, liver function also impacts the ca19-9 reading.

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This is interesting information. Thank you for sharing.

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I don’t believe CA19-9 values have any meaning. When I was first diagnosed with stage 1 pancreatic cancer my CA19-9 was 256. After 8 rounds of chemo and radiation my CA19-9 is 13.8, but yet I now have stage 4 with mets to the liver, tumors continue to grow. I, like most of you, was encouraged by the counts, but to no avail.

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@lisarlee

Thanks for your reply. My step daughter keeps telling me she researched it
and it means nothing so I was hoping for some positive feedback.

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It’s very good news, you want to see the number trending down. My husbands CA19-9 is very indicative of how the chemo is working.

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@pepaw

I don’t believe CA19-9 values have any meaning. When I was first diagnosed with stage 1 pancreatic cancer my CA19-9 was 256. After 8 rounds of chemo and radiation my CA19-9 is 13.8, but yet I now have stage 4 with mets to the liver, tumors continue to grow. I, like most of you, was encouraged by the counts, but to no avail.

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Hi @pepaw, please accept my belated welcome. You're right CA19-9 values are only one measure. Their value has to be substantiated by further investigations, and in your case the value was actually deceiving. Can you share how the mets was discovered?

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@colleenyoung

Hi @pepaw, please accept my belated welcome. You're right CA19-9 values are only one measure. Their value has to be substantiated by further investigations, and in your case the value was actually deceiving. Can you share how the mets was discovered?

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prior to scheduling Whipple surgery, I had CT scan that showed three areas of concern in liver. Then had MRI and PET scan followed by EUS with liver biopsy. Now I am on another chemo regimen with another CT in October to assess.

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@pepaw

prior to scheduling Whipple surgery, I had CT scan that showed three areas of concern in liver. Then had MRI and PET scan followed by EUS with liver biopsy. Now I am on another chemo regimen with another CT in October to assess.

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Hi @pepaw, I thought I'd check in with you. How is chemo going? Have you had the CT scan this month?

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@colleenyoung

Hi @pepaw, I thought I'd check in with you. How is chemo going? Have you had the CT scan this month?

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Chemo is going very well. My CA19-9 continues in the normal range. My next scan is in 2 weeks . Waiting to see if the chemo is working is very hard. In the meantime, i’m investigating clinical trials.

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