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Normal CA 15-3 (Carcinoma Antigen) in a blood test

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Normal CA 15-3 (Carcinoma Antigen) in a blood test
Last update: 14/06/2021

What is the normal value of CA 15-3 (Carcinoma Antigen) in a blood test?

The normal range of the CA 15-3 (Carcinoma Antigen) is expressed in U/ml.

Men: < 30 U/ml
Women: < 30 U/ml

Why normal levels can differ across different labs?

Each laboratory must establish its own normal range for the CA 15-3 (Carcinoma Antigen) in a blood test. These ranges depend on the makeup of the local population, the technologies used and the accuracy of the measurement. There may be also slight differences in the normal levels according to age, gender, race or ethnic origin, geographic region, diet, type of sample and other relevant status.

Your doctor will study the results along with your medical record, screenings, physical condition, symptoms and any other relevant information about your situation.

There are different procedures to measure the CA 15-3 in the blood. It can be measured by immunoradiometric analysis (IRMA), ELISA or chemiluminescence so the values may differ from one laboratory to another.

What does CA 15-3 (Carcinoma Antigen) mean?

The CA 15-3 (carcinoma antigen) is a glycoprotein that is part of a bigger mucin-type protein called MUC-1.

The CA 15-3 (carcinoma antigen) is present in malignant and normal epithelial cells of certain organs, for example breast, lung, ovary and pancreas.

What is the CA 15-3 (Carcinoma Antigen) test used for?

The CA 15-3 (carcinoma antigen) is a tumor marker. It means that it raises in the presence of a malignant tumor.

Tumor markers are used in the follow-up of treatment for some types of cancer. The CA 15-3, along with the CA 27-29 and the CEA markers, is used in the follow-up of treated breast cancer. An increase in CA 15-3 concentrations during follow-up suggests a recurrence. A decrease suggests a good prognosis of the disease.

The CA 15-3 is not recommended for early diagnosis or screening of breast cancer due to low sensitivity in early stages. The CA 15-3 concentrations are not usually elevated in patients with primary cancers (only in the 23% of the cases), but over 70% of patients with metastasis show increases in the CA 15-3 level.

Besides, it may be elevated in other conditions (benign and malignant). For that reason, it is only used for the follow-up of the breast cancer.

The CA 15-3 may be elevated in benign conditions, including benign ovarian tumors, benign breast diseases (fibroadenoma), chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, sarcoidosis, tuberculosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and hypothyroidism.

The CA 15-3 is also elevated in malignant neoplasm, apart from breast cancer, such as ovarian, pancreas, lung, colorectal, liver and prostate cancer.

Where can I find more information about CA 15-3 (Carcinoma Antigen) in a blood test?

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Which values are considered a normal CA 15-3 (Carcinoma Antigen) in a blood test?

The following values are considered to be normal values:

IMPORTANT: These levels are expressed in U/ml. They are an example of a healthy non-smoker man/woman of about 40 years old with no known disease and not taking any medication. The ranges can be different depending on the laboratory or on your personal circumstances.

CA 15-3
Normality
0 U/ml0.1 U/ml0.2 U/ml0.3 U/ml0.4 U/ml0.5 U/ml0.6 U/ml0.7 U/ml
0.8 U/ml0.9 U/ml1 U/ml1.1 U/ml1.2 U/ml1.3 U/ml1.4 U/ml1.5 U/ml
1.6 U/ml1.7 U/ml1.8 U/ml1.9 U/ml2 U/ml2.1 U/ml2.2 U/ml2.3 U/ml
2.4 U/ml2.5 U/ml2.6 U/ml2.7 U/ml2.8 U/ml2.9 U/ml3 U/ml3.1 U/ml
3.2 U/ml3.3 U/ml3.4 U/ml3.5 U/ml3.6 U/ml3.7 U/ml3.8 U/ml3.9 U/ml
4 U/ml4.1 U/ml4.2 U/ml4.3 U/ml4.4 U/ml4.5 U/ml4.6 U/ml4.7 U/ml
4.8 U/ml4.9 U/ml5 U/ml5.1 U/ml5.2 U/ml5.3 U/ml5.4 U/ml5.5 U/ml
5.6 U/ml5.7 U/ml5.8 U/ml5.9 U/ml6 U/ml6.1 U/ml6.2 U/ml6.3 U/ml
6.4 U/ml6.5 U/ml6.6 U/ml6.7 U/ml6.8 U/ml6.9 U/ml7 U/ml7.1 U/ml
7.2 U/ml7.3 U/ml7.4 U/ml7.5 U/ml7.6 U/ml7.7 U/ml7.8 U/ml7.9 U/ml
8 U/ml8.1 U/ml8.2 U/ml8.3 U/ml8.4 U/ml8.5 U/ml8.6 U/ml8.7 U/ml
8.8 U/ml8.9 U/ml9 U/ml9.1 U/ml9.2 U/ml9.3 U/ml9.4 U/ml9.5 U/ml
9.6 U/ml9.7 U/ml9.8 U/ml9.9 U/ml10 U/ml10.1 U/ml10.2 U/ml10.3 U/ml
10.4 U/ml10.5 U/ml10.6 U/ml10.7 U/ml10.8 U/ml10.9 U/ml11 U/ml11.1 U/ml
11.2 U/ml11.3 U/ml11.4 U/ml11.5 U/ml11.6 U/ml11.7 U/ml11.8 U/ml11.9 U/ml
12 U/ml12.1 U/ml12.2 U/ml12.3 U/ml12.4 U/ml12.5 U/ml12.6 U/ml12.7 U/ml
12.8 U/ml12.9 U/ml13 U/ml13.1 U/ml13.2 U/ml13.3 U/ml13.4 U/ml13.5 U/ml
13.6 U/ml13.7 U/ml13.8 U/ml13.9 U/ml14 U/ml14.1 U/ml14.2 U/ml14.3 U/ml
14.4 U/ml14.5 U/ml14.6 U/ml14.7 U/ml14.8 U/ml14.9 U/ml15 U/ml15.1 U/ml
15.2 U/ml15.3 U/ml15.4 U/ml15.5 U/ml15.6 U/ml15.7 U/ml15.8 U/ml15.9 U/ml
16 U/ml16.1 U/ml16.2 U/ml16.3 U/ml16.4 U/ml16.5 U/ml16.6 U/ml16.7 U/ml
16.8 U/ml16.9 U/ml17 U/ml17.1 U/ml17.2 U/ml17.3 U/ml17.4 U/ml17.5 U/ml
17.6 U/ml17.7 U/ml17.8 U/ml17.9 U/ml18 U/ml18.1 U/ml18.2 U/ml18.3 U/ml
18.4 U/ml18.5 U/ml18.6 U/ml18.7 U/ml18.8 U/ml18.9 U/ml19 U/ml19.1 U/ml
19.2 U/ml19.3 U/ml19.4 U/ml19.5 U/ml19.6 U/ml19.7 U/ml19.8 U/ml19.9 U/ml
20 U/ml20.1 U/ml20.2 U/ml20.3 U/ml20.4 U/ml20.5 U/ml20.6 U/ml20.7 U/ml
20.8 U/ml20.9 U/ml21 U/ml21.1 U/ml21.2 U/ml21.3 U/ml21.4 U/ml21.5 U/ml
21.6 U/ml21.7 U/ml21.8 U/ml21.9 U/ml22 U/ml22.1 U/ml22.2 U/ml22.3 U/ml
22.4 U/ml22.5 U/ml22.6 U/ml22.7 U/ml22.8 U/ml22.9 U/ml23 U/ml23.1 U/ml
23.2 U/ml23.3 U/ml23.4 U/ml23.5 U/ml23.6 U/ml23.7 U/ml23.8 U/ml23.9 U/ml
24 U/ml24.1 U/ml24.2 U/ml24.3 U/ml24.4 U/ml24.5 U/ml24.6 U/ml24.7 U/ml
24.8 U/ml24.9 U/ml25 U/ml25.1 U/ml25.2 U/ml25.3 U/ml25.4 U/ml25.5 U/ml
25.6 U/ml25.7 U/ml25.8 U/ml25.9 U/ml26 U/ml26.1 U/ml26.2 U/ml26.3 U/ml
26.4 U/ml26.5 U/ml26.6 U/ml26.7 U/ml26.8 U/ml26.9 U/ml27 U/ml27.1 U/ml
27.2 U/ml27.3 U/ml27.4 U/ml27.5 U/ml27.6 U/ml27.7 U/ml27.8 U/ml27.9 U/ml
28 U/ml28.1 U/ml28.2 U/ml28.3 U/ml28.4 U/ml28.5 U/ml28.6 U/ml28.7 U/ml
28.8 U/ml28.9 U/ml29 U/ml29.1 U/ml29.2 U/ml29.3 U/ml29.4 U/ml29.5 U/ml
29.6 U/ml29.7 U/ml29.8 U/ml29.9 U/ml30 U/ml   
Medically reviewed by our Medical staff on 14/06/2021

Bibliography

  • Concise Book of Medical Laboratory Technology: Methods and Interpretations. 2nd Edition. 2015. Ramnik Sood. Pag 683. ISBN: 978-93-5152-333-8. Pag. 685.
  • Laboratory tests and diagnostic procedures: with nursing diagnoses. Jane Vincent Corbett, Angela Denise Banks. 8th ed. 2013. ISBN: 978-0-13-237332-6. Pag. 249.
  • Cancer Therapeutic Targets. John L. Marshall, Lee M. Ellis, Edward P. Gelmann, Howard L. Kaufman, Louis M. Weiner, Emanuel, F. Petricoin. 2017. ISBN 978-1-4419-0716-5. Pag 392.
  • Tietz. Fundamentals of Clinical Chemistry. Carl A. Burtis, Edward R. Ashwood, David e. Bruns. 6th edition. 2008. ISBN: 978-0-7216-3865-2. Pag 353.

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