Biomarker CA-125 and Renal Medullary Carcinoma: What Do We Know?
Biomarker CA-125 and Renal Medullary Carcinoma: What Do We Know? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.
What is known about the renal medullary carcinoma (RMC) biomarker called CA-125? Expert Dr. Nizar Tannir explains how the CA-125 biomarker has been analyzed and further studies of the biomarker used along with other RMC testing.
Dr. Nizar Tannir is a Professor in the Department of Genitourinary Medical Oncology, Division of Cancer Medicine at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
“…another valuable information to have, but it has to be interpreted in the context of other things in the context of how the patient is doing, whether they have symptoms that are improving or getting worse, and imaging studies. So all of this has to be incorporated, integrated together as one package and not just look at it individually and make decisions, right, only based on that. So it’s a good tool, it’s something to use, and we are learning more about it, and pretty soon, hopefully we will publish our results about that.”
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Dr. Tannir, there is news about monitoring levels of the biomarker CA-125 and renal medullary carcinoma and how it may help predict disease development. What do we know about CA-125 as a biomarker in renal medullary carcinoma?
The CA-125 biomarker has been established as a good serological marker that you test in serum in women with ovarian cancer. So in women with ovarian cancer or suspected to have ovarian cancer, that blood test can be very valuable and elevated blood level of CA-125 in women with suspected ovarian cancer or established already women already diagnosed with ovarian cancer can provide information about the activity of the disease and response to therapy. So when a patient with ovarian cancer, for example, a response has, say, a debulking surgery and then the blood test is drawn, is tested after surgery the blood level will go down. You give them chemotherapy and the blood level goes down indicating that they’re responding. If they achieve a complete remission, complete response that CA-125 level could go down to undetectable level or normal range level as physiologic and women who don’t have ovarian cancer. Likewise, we use it in ovarian cancer to see if it’s rising, that the patient could be developing a recurrence of that disease. So it’s been very helpful in that regard.
And actually the pioneer this researcher, the physician scientist who led the initial work with CA-125 as a biomarker in cancer, was Dr. Robert Bast from MD Anderson. Now recently Dr. Msaouel and our team at MD Anderson looked at a battery, a panel of serology to really see if one of them is associated or could be linked to RMC and among a battery, a panel of several of these serological biomarkers. We found that CA-125 actually is a valuable blood test that we use to monitor RMC, not just in women like ovarian cancer, women with ovarian cancer, but in men and women with RMC the CA-125 could be valuable. Now, it’s not as they say panacea, it’s not like it’s if a patient has…the patient could have high tumor burden with obvious disease when you do CAT scans and MRIs and PET scans and other imaging studies.
But CA-125 may not be elevated but in many patients it can track the disease response to therapy that you are treating the patients with. And it could be valuable in that sense. But more recently we found that this could be also a relevant or a potentially relevant and important target to use therapy against RMC with that. So we are developing, Dr. Msaouel is preparing and hopefully we will launch this trial before the end of the year where we are using novel therapy based on that link based on that CA-125, whether this therapy will be more effective than chemotherapy, time will tell. So my activation tip on this is it’s good information to have, I encourage providers who treat patients with RMC at other institutions to test draw the blood order this test on their patients and see if in their patients it’ll be valuable.
It’ll be helpful to help them to track the disease. So that’s my activation tip is another valuable information to have, but it has to be interpreted in the context of other things in the context of how the patient is doing, whether they have symptoms that are improving or getting worse, and imaging studies. So all of this has to be incorporated, integrated together as one package and not just look at it individually and make decisions, right, only based on that. So it’s a good tool, it’s something to use, and we are learning more about it, and pretty soon, hopefully we will publish our results about that.