Tumor markers can help monitor ROS1, ALK, EGFR, and KRAS lung cancer patients

Tumor markers (certain molecules in the blood of cancer patients) can provide a useful “early warning” for cancer progression in patients whose lung cancer has alterations in ROS1, ALK, EGFR and KRAS genes.

An analysis of data from 142 patients reviewed four tumor markers (CEA, CA125, CA19.9 and CA27.29) and found at least one tumor marker was elevated prior to treatment in about 80% of the patients.

Senior author Dr. D. Ross Camidge of the University of Colorado shared the following study highlights with the ROS1ders:

  • During the first six weeks that a patient is on a new targeted therapy, tumor markers are not reliable—they may go up, go down, or stay the same.
  • Tumor markers are not a substitute for monitoring patients with regular scans, as the cancer can progress (especially in the brain) without tumor markers going up.
  • An increase in tumor markers might offer as much as three months advance notice of progression in the body before it is seen on a scan.  This could enable the progression to be detected before it spreads to another site.

The article, published August 24 issue in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, is available here: http://www.jto.org/article/S1556-0864(17)30680-9/pdf

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