What is the role of serum CA 27-29 testing in the management of metastatic breast cancer?

Updated: Jul 11, 2019
  • Author: Nikhil G Thaker, MD; Chief Editor: Eric B Staros, MD  more...
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The overall sensitivity and specificity of CA 27-29 is low when this assay is used in all patients. However, sensitivity and specificity are considerably higher in advanced (metastatic) or recurrent disease. CA 27-29 levels may increase in higher-stage breast cancers and larger tumors, which is consistent with its putative role in anti-adhesion, cancer cell invasion, and metastases. [7]

CA 27-29 can be used in conjunction with the history, physical examination, and diagnostic imaging to monitor therapeutic response of metastatic breast cancer. CA 27-29, however, should not be used alone to monitor treatment response in this setting. Additionally, if no other indication of measurable disease (ie, by history, physical exam, or imaging) are present, an elevation in CA 27-29 can otherwise signify treatment failure. However, false rises in CA 27-29 may occur in the first 4-6 weeks of therapy, and caution should be used when interpreting these results. [5]

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