What is the role of serum CA 27-29 testing in recurrence monitoring following treatment for primary breast cancer?

Updated: Jul 11, 2019
  • Author: Nikhil G Thaker, MD; Chief Editor: Eric B Staros, MD  more...
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Currently, data are insufficient to recommend the use of CA 27-29 to monitor recurrence of breast cancer after primary and/or adjuvant treatment of a primary breast cancer. Several studies have shown that an increase in CA 27-29 may predict recurrence approximately 5-6 months prior to the onset of signs/symptoms or positivity of other tests. [5, 12, 13] However, no randomized clinical trials show that early detection and treatment of these asymptomatic recurrences improve overall survival, disease-free survival, and quality of life. [5]

Moreover, using results from the SUCCESS-A breast cancer trial, Hepp et al advised that increased CA 27-29 levels be interpreted cautiously in patients who undergo treatment with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) during adjuvant chemotherapy, finding that patients who received G-CSF demonstrated a significantly greater rise in CA 27-29 levels than did individuals to whom G-CSF was not administered. [14]

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