CA 15-3 TestDr. Nikit MahaleLast Updated on 17th February 2022
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What is the Ca 15-3 Test used for?
A CA 15-3 test determines the CA 15-3 levels in the blood. When cancerous cells develop in the breast, a consequent increase in CA 15-3 takes place.
The cancerous breast tumours shed higher-than-normal levels of CA 15-3. These higher than usual CA 15-3 then enter the bloodstream. With the help of the CA 15-3 test, detection of the abnormal CA 15-3 levels in the blood can occur. Higher than normal levels and overexpression of this protein has been correlated with more advanced stages of breast cancer or tumour size. CA 15-3 levels increase as the tumour grows. The highest levels may be seen in breast cancer that spreads to other body parts, particularly bone and liver.
So, this test can help find out how well the patient is responding to breast cancer treatment. Also, doctors may use this test to determine if cancer returns after treatment.
What is included in the CA 15-3 Test?
The test measures the levels of Cancer antigen 15-3: CA 15-3 is a type of protein that is overexpressed by the cancerous cells of the breast. This protein is released into the blood by various kinds of malignant glandular cancer cells, like breast cancer cells.
Procedure for CA 15-3 Test
- You don’t need to do anything special to prepare for the Ca 15-3 test.
- The CA 15-3 test is done with a blood sample. So, a needle is used to draw blood from a vein for this particular test.
- The CA 15-3 test usually takes place in either a private or hospital lab.
The lab technician would then run this test on the collected sample to measure CA 15-3 in the body.
How to prepare for the CA 15-3 Test?
As already mentioned, no special preparation is needed before the CA15-3 test. In the CA 15-3 test, there is no need for you to fast a few hours before this test.
However, you must inform your doctor about a medication course that you may be on before the CA 15-3 test. Your doctor may require you to stop taking these medications before undergoing the CA 15-3 test.
Things to consider after the CA 15-3 Test is complete.
If there is an elevation in the CA 15-3 results, your doctor may order additional tests. Your doctor may also decide to watch and wait if the levels are mildly elevated. Your cancer specialist may order a repeat test after several weeks.
Cancer specialists may also order additional testing if the elevation does not reduce with time or increases. The CA 15-3 test may also be ordered with hormone receptor tests or other genetic expression tests as a part of breast cancer evaluation and management plan.
What conditions can the CA 15-3 Test detect?
The CA 15-3 is effective in detecting and monitoring the following:
- Localised and metastatic breast cancer that spreads to other parts of the body
- Understanding the prognosis or outcome of these cancers
- Response to treatment regimens for breast cancers
- Recurrence of breast cancers or other glandular cancers
If your doctor asks you to undergo a CA 15-3 test, it is for one of the following two reasons:
- For regularly tracking your CA 15-3 values. This helps in forming an assessment of the effectiveness of your cancer treatment.
- To see if the CA 15-3 antigens rise beyond the average level. If this happens, it would mean that your cancer may be spreading or growing. In such a case, your doctor would look for metastasis or spread in other body parts, especially the liver and bones.
How much does a CA 15-3 Test cost?
The CA 15-3 Test cost may vary from city to city. However, the price for this test ranges from Rs 923 and Rs 1270 in various Indian cities. From the below table, you can find the expected approximate average cost for the CA 15-3 Test:
|City Name||Price (In INR)|
|Book CA 15-3 Test in Bangalore||1270|
|Book CA 15-3 Test in Gurugram||1218|
|Book CA 15-3 Test in Delhi||1145|
|Book CA 15-3 Test in Kolkata||1204|
|Book CA 15-3 Test in Hyderabad||1069|
|Book CA 15-3 Test in Mumbai||1155|
|Book CA 15-3 Test in Indore||1196|
|Book CA 15-3 Test in Ahmedabad||923|
|Book CA 15-3 Test in Chennai||1151|
|Book CA 15-3 Test in Jaipur||1262|
*Disclaimer: The value varies based on location, time, and your preferred lab partner.
How long does it take to get the CA 15-3 Test result?
The test results are usually available within 24-28 hours, depending on the location and lab chosen.
What do abnormal CA 15-3 Test results indicate?
CA 15-3 levels can be higher than usual with conditions that are cancerous and non-cancerous as well. Usually, an increase in the CA 15-3 occurs in breast cancer that has metastasized and spread to other body regions.
The higher the CA 15-3 in the blood would consequently mean the presence of more cancerous cells. When breast cancer metastasizes to the liver or bones, the highest levels become. If the treatment turns out to be effective, the level of CA 15-3 reduces and returns to normal. Sometimes the CA 15-3 levels may increase over time. This may be an indication that the treatment is not effective and the cancer is not responding to it. It may also mean that the cancer is recurring or returning after the treatment.
Apart from breast cancers, CA 15-3 may also be higher than usual in the case of cancers of the prostate, ovary, pancreas, liver, colon, endometrial and lung regions. However, these levels do not go as high as breast cancer.
Kindly note that elevation of CA 15-3 levels can also be seen in healthy individuals in benign conditions, but they tend to remain stable over time in mild conditions, unlike in malignancy, where levels rise quickly. Other benign causes of elevated CA 15-3 levels are liver cirrhosis, tuberculosis, sarcoidosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, SLE, endometriosis.
Disclaimer: Please consult with your doctor for interpreting the test reports.
Is CA 15-3 Test a definitive test?
The CA 15-3 test is not definitive. This is because it is not very reliable and accurate for cancer screening, even though it is effective for monitoring treatment response to breast cancer. CA 15-3 is not valuable for breast cancer screening because it is not specific.
Various conditions can also increase the CA 15-3 levels like the following:
- Acute hepatitis
- Colon cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Liver cancer
- Liver cirrhosis
- Benign breast conditions
- Lung cancer
- Systemic Lupus erythematosus
- Prostate cancer
Besides the above-mentioned conditions, CA 15-3 level can also be increased due to pregnancy. Also, this test suffers from low sensitivity and may not accurately show up even in actual breast cancer.
How to read the CA 15-3 Test report?
A normal test result for CA 15-3 levels will generally measure up to 30 units per millilitre (U/ml) or below it. The oncologist or cancer specialist will help interpret your results to other pre-existing co-morbidities and medications.
CA 15-3 levels that continue to increase over time may indicate the following information:
- Treatment is not turning out to be effective
- Cancer is spreading continuously
- Cancer is recurring after the treatment
Decreasing CA 15-3 may be an indication that the treatment is working correctly.
Sometimes, a person with regular CA 15-3 levels may still suffer from advanced breast cancer. CA 15-3 levels may not be high enough for conducting this test in the early cancer stages.
In some cases, advanced breast cancer may not lead to the release of CA 15-3.
Additional tests can supplement a CA 15-3 test and increase its accuracy. These additional tests, along with the CA 15-3 test, can reveal the true and accurate picture of how cancer affects the body.
Why book CA 15-3 Test?
- Your oncologist may advise the test to monitor your response to cancer therapy and also to understand the outcome of your cancer.
- The specialist will also help you understand if the increased levels are significant or not to begin with.
CA 15-3 Test at home – how does it work?
The CA 15-3 test is just like any other blood test. A lab technician visits your home when you book your tests through the MFine app. The phlebotomist first cleans the arm and then inserts a syringe into a vein. The required amount of blood is then taken into a vial. The lab technician then removes the needle and places cotton wool or a bandage over the prick.
Are there any risks involved with the CA 15-3 Test?
There are minimal risks for this test. However, some people may experience the following symptoms that may occur as a part of blood drawing:
- Mild stinging or pain at the point of insertion
Some people may also experience light-headedness after this test. Proper hydration is important.
What can affect the results for CA 15-3 Test?
Breast cancer most commonly affects the CA 15-3 test results. CA 15-3 may be higher than normal in cancer of the lung, pancreas, ovary and prostate regions, but these levels are not as high as with breast cancer. Non-cancerous conditions can also increase CA 15-3 levels. Such non-cancerous conditions are liver disease, inflammatory disease, and endometriosis.
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Frequently Asked Questions | FAQs
Is the lab technician coming for CA 15-3 Test sample collection vaccinated?
Yes. Our lab technicians are fully vaccinated. Further, they also ensure safety by wearing a mask, gloves and frequently sanitising themselves during the sample collection.
Does MFine provide the interpretation for the results along with the reports?
Yes, MFine provides the interpretation for the result along with the reports. You can also avail a free medical consultation with a doctor to understand your reports accurately. The doctor will also advise and prescribe medicines, if required, based on the results.
How can I download my CA 15-3 Test report?
- Login to MFine
- Go to your profile
- Click on Attachment and Reports
- Click on Lab Report
- Download the report
Are there any discount offers running on CA 15-3 Test?
Usually, you can avail up to a 50% discount on Ca 15-3 tests through MFine. However, the discount and test price may vary based on lab partner and location.
What are the symptoms associated with breast cancer?
Breast cancer may cause symptoms like painless and hard or firm lumps in or around the breasts that can grow in size over time, changes in the nipple and the skin overlying the breast, nipple discharge, weight loss etc.
How accurate is tumour marker CA 15-3?
The specificity (ability of the test to rule out the disease, i.e. truly negative) range of the CA 15-3 Test is between 85.5-93%. Also, breast cancer sensitivity (the ability of the test to diagnose the disease, i.e. truly positive) for the CA 15-3 Test varies between 75-76.9%.
How high can a CA 15-3 Test go?
Cancer antigen 15-3 (CA 15-3) is used to monitor the body’s response to breast cancer treatment. The serum CA 15-3 test reference range is below 30 U/mL individual characteristics.
What does the CA15-3 Test measure?
This test measures the cancer antigen 15-3 level in the blood. Various cancer cells release the CA 15-3 antigen into the blood like the breast cancer cells.
Can fluctuation of tumour markers happen?
Yes, tumour markers levels can go up and down over a certain period. A tumour marker’s level may not go up until after cancer advances significantly. For certain cancers, detection of tumour markers is not possible with current tests.
Can chemotherapy cause tumour markers to rise for the CA 15-3 Test?
Yes, chemo can cause a temporary increase in tumour marker levels for the CA 15-3 test in the initial few days or weeks. This may happen due to the quick death of the cancer cells in response to the treatment.
Disclaimer: The content is uniquely informative and is meant for educational use. Kindly use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified or registered healthcare provider.