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Breast Cancer

Tumor marker test



I am a five and 1/2 year breast cancer survivor. At the time of diagnosis I had a score of 108 on my tumor marker test, however,no disease was ever found in CT or pet scans. It has continued to fluctuate in the past five years This has mostly been in high 30`s or low 40`s.In Feb.I had a 38.5 reading which is when I had my last pet scan. I have just had a 41.5 reading and my doctor is not too concerned, but would like for me to have a pet just to be sure. I had a stage 2 (2.7cm.tumor) but no node involvement. She said that she is almost to the point of not even using these test for detection because of false positives, but she can`t ignore a change. What is your opinion of this test and what would a score of 108 mean to you if there was no evidence of disease? Thanks for your response.


I don't routinely obtain tumor markers to monitor breast cancer survivors.  Most of the medical oncologists I work with do not use it either, although one does.  I have not generally found the test useful.  Some would say that if it is elevated at diagnosis and falls to low levels after therapy, an increase may indicate recurrent disease.  If the level has fluctuated in the 30-40s for the last 5 years with no evidence of disease, I probably would not be concerned either. If you have questions or concerns about your diagnosis or treatment, please speak with your physician.

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Response by:

Doreen M Agnese, MD Doreen M Agnese, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery and Internal Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University