What is causing the rise in CA 125 levels after 6 rounds of Chemo?

Posted by christyhh @christyhh, May 7 3:41pm

My mother was diagnosed with stage 4 Ovarian cancer at the age of 75. Her CA 125 levels was 577 and she had tumors and enlarged lymph nodes all over her thoracic area. After 6 round of Chemo the growth of the tumors stop and started shrinking and her CA 125 level went to 13.9. Over the past 6 months the CA125 levels started rising again. A CT was done and no change in tumor size or lymph nodes. They are now up to 455. I asked her oncologist if they should do a CT of the neck and brain but he said it is very rare that ovarian cancer rarely goes to the brain, but he has offered not any explanation as to why her levels keep rising. I would appreciate any information concerning this matter.

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Hi christyhh. I was also diagnosed with ovarian cancer when I was 76 — in fall of 2021. My CA 125 has been measured and, like your mother’s, my CA 125 values do not seem to coordinate with the amount of cancer found in my CT scans. I have been told by my oncologist that CA 125 is not always a perfectly accurate measure of the amount of my ovarian cancer. An increased CA, 125 he said, could, for example, reflect an inflammation rather than ovarian cancer growth. Nevertheless, CA, 125 is measured every time I have an infusion of chemotherapy drugs. Be sure to keep after your mother’s oncologist to get it clear what value testing for CA 125 is in guiding your her treatment. You have inspired me to ask questions again!! 🙂 Good luck. Marian


@christyhh and @1mbaldy, I encourage you to also see this related discussion:
– CA-125 Results Went Up: Should I be concerned? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/ca-125-results-rose/

Tumor markers, such as CA-125, alone are not enough information to make conclusions, but can indicate the need for further investigation. @1mbaldy, you're right that this is a reminder to keep asking questions.

Christy, did your mom have further testing? Was any explanation offered in the meantime?

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