Pathology Handbook

CA15-3

Synonyms

Carbohydrate Antigen 15-3

Clinical Indications

Serum CA15-3 is raised in breast and other adenocarcinomas, especially with distant metastasis. Levels are rarely raised in patients with localised breast cancer.

Request Form

Request on ICE

Availability

Analysed by referral laboratory if specific criteria met.

Specific Criteria

ONLY for monitoring treatment of patients with advanced breast cancer on request by a Consultant Oncologist. 

Must not be used for screening for malignancy

NOTE:  If a patient is having serial tumour marker levels monitored the tests must all be done at the same laboratory as there are significant variations between assays

Turnaround Time

1 week

Specimen

Serum

Volume

1 ml

Container

Vacutainer gold top

Lab Handling

Sent to referral laboratory (Charing Cross)

Causes for Rejection

Unlabelled or incorrectly labelled sample; not meeting specific criteria for analysis.

Reference Range

Less than 32 kU/L

Half-life in Serum

Unknown

Interpretation

CA15-3 levels may be raised in benign liver disease and possibly benign breast disease. Elevations are seen in a number of carcinomas e.g. stomach, colon, gall bladder, pancreas, oesophagus, liver and lung.