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Carbohydrate Antigen 15-3 is a circulating glycoprotein, produced by breast cells. It is produced by a gene that is often over-expressed in cancerous breast tumors, leading to an increased production of CA 15-3. This test is useful for monitoring treatment and to watch for breast cancer recurrence. HIGH levels might indicate a larger tumor burden (advanced stage of breast cancer), with localized or metastatic breast cancer. MILD TO MODERATE ELEVATIONS of CA 15-3 are also seen in liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, cirrhosis, and benign breast disorders, as well as in a certain percentage of apparently healthy individuals. NEGATIVE CA 15-3 levels do not ensure that a patient does not have cancer. It may be too soon in the disease for elevated levels to be detected.
Allow specimen to clot completely at room temperature. Separate serum or plasma from cells ASAP