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

Image credit: This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA

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Gray Connections

I was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer in May 2011. The cancer became metastatic in October 2011. No, I never smoked anything (except a salmon). I've had no evidence of disease since January 2013 thanks to precision medicine, clinical trials, and other patients. ANYONE can get lung cancer. Using my engineering degrees (MIT SBME 1978, Caltech Aeronautics MS 1984 and ENGR 1986), I enjoyed a 20-year career in aerospace systems engineering as a technical translator of sorts: I researched a scientific or engineering subject and helped others understand how this new gizmo could benefit them. In the time I have left, I want to use my skills to help others who have lung cancer, and increase the visibility and knowledge of lung cancer among those who don't. I also study brain research, enjoy traveling, write science fiction, and geek out about all sorts of science stuff.