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My CA19-9 count has gone down from 14,000 to 11,000 in the 4 weeks since changing from Folfirinox to Gemcitabine. Not sure what this means but I suppose it's good news?

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PCUK Nurse Jeni

Hi Muzzy,

Ca 19.9 (Carbohydrate antigen) is a tumour marker which tracks activity in the cancer. The fact that it has come down is very good news as Julia says. It is a simple way of measuring the effectiveness of the treatment, without having to do scans all the time.

As a general rule though, you would not just take that on its own as an absolute, as sometimes they can go up when there is an infection or inflammation, not necessarily anything to do with the cancer. And sometimes, they might not be raised that much at all - everyone is different. If however, you find that you are feeling better, the tumour markers are coming down, and the next scan is good news - those types of things all taken together, then you have good reason to believe that the ca 19.9 is sensitive to the chemo in showing response.

I am just saying this to give accurate information as it can also cause anxiety if it goes up, and patients get worried, whereas, it may not be cancer related at all.

But, on the whole, I would say - great news!

Kind regards,


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