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what are the tumor markers and what are good numbers?

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  • what are the tumor markers and what are good numbers?

    Hi all,

    I have no idea about what tumor markers we'll need to be watching and what the "good" levels are. Can you help me?


  • #2
    To guide you on this question, as well as your other post wrt an RPLND, you will find great sources of information at this site where you look at the menu on the left for subject matter, as well as The "questions to ask" section is helpful to print and bring along to discuss with your husband's oncologist. Read all you can so you can make informed decisions along the way. Let us know the pathology if you could so guys down the same path can chime in. Good luck!
    Retired moderator. Husband, left I/O 16Dec2005, stage I seminoma with elevated b-HCG, no LVI, RTx15 (25Gy). All clear ever since.


    • #3
      The TCRC Dictionary ( is a great place to start. Generally there are three big tumor markers followed for TC:

      Alpha Feto-Protein (AFP): present only in nonseminomas. Generally should be below 10, cancer cannot be assumed unless it is over 25.

      Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, beta subunit (beta hCG): the same marker used to measure pregnancy in females, it is normally below 2 in males. Can occur with seminomas and nonseminomas.

      Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH): an enzyme found in many tissues, can be elevated in cases of TC. In many folks it tends to jump around quite a bit and is not as useful a marker as b-HCG or AFP.

      You may wish you'd never heard of tumor markers by the time treatment/surveillance is complete. Trust me, the doctors will take blood samples at every opportunity and will be watching the numbers like a hawk.
      Vinny (aka Frank)

      left I/O 1/5/05; 95%EC / 5% mature teratoma; stage IIIC
      4x BEP 1/24/05 - 4/11/05; RPLND (left side) 5/31/05
      VATS resection of teratoma from left lung 4/26/06
      Presently surveilling


      • #4
        Thank you, this helps a lot!