Does this test have other names?
Cancer antigen 27-29
What is this test?
CA 27-29 is a blood test used to watch certain types of cancer. CA 27-29 is the name
of an antigen. An antigen is a substance that stimulates your body's defense system.
Certain types of cancer cells send CA 27-29 antigen into the blood. This test measures
how much CA 27-29 is in your blood.
Breast cancer is the cancer most likely to release CA 27-29. The FDA has approved
the CA 27-29 blood test as a way for health care providers to monitor people with
breast cancer. Antigens like CA 27-29 that give information about cancer are called
Why do I need this test?
CA 27-29 is not a screening test to find out whether you have breast cancer. If you
have been diagnosed with breast cancer, your health care provider may order the CA
To find out whether your cancer has spread before starting treatment
To find out how well your treatment is working
To find out whether your cancer has come back or spread after treatment
What other tests might I have along with this test?
Your health care provider may check for another breast cancer tumor marker called
CA 15-3. You may also have other diagnostic tests.
What do my test results mean?
Many things may affect your lab test results. These include the method each lab uses
to do the test. Even if your test results are different from the normal value, you
may not have a problem. To learn what the results mean for you, talk with your health
It's important to know that a positive CA 27-29 test does not mean that you have breast
cancer or that breast cancer has come back. Your test results can be higher than normal
for other types of cancer. These include liver, pancreatic, ovarian, and colorectal
cancers. Some conditions that aren't cancer may cause a positive CA 27-29 test. And
some people with breast cancer do not have a positive CA 27-29 blood test.
Health providers measure CA 27-29 in units per milliliter (U/mL). A normal test should
be less than or equal to 38 U/mL. Here is what your test results may mean:
If your CA 27-29 is less than 38 U/mL, it may mean that you don't have active breast
If your CA 27-29 is 38 U/mL or greater, you may have active breast cancer, your breast
cancer may have come back, or your breast cancer may have spread. When breast cancer
spreads to an area outside the breast, it is called metastasis.
If your CA 27-29 is 38 U/mL or greater, you may have a condition other than breast
cancer that raises CA 27-29. These conditions include other types of cancers. They
also include noncancerous breast diseases, cysts of the ovary, and liver disease.
When CA 27-29 goes up because of a condition other than cancer, the test is called
How is this test done?
The test requires a blood sample, which is drawn through a needle from a vein in your
Does this test pose any risks?
Taking a blood sample with a needle carries risks that include bleeding, infection,
bruising, or feeling dizzy. When the needle pricks your arm, you may feel a slight
stinging sensation or pain. Afterward, the site may be slightly sore.
What might affect my test results?
Some conditions that are not cancer may cause a false-positive CA 27-29. You may also
have a false-positive result if you are in contact with mouse antigens in your environment.
You may have a false-positive if you get cancer treatments that use mouse antigens.
How do I get ready for this test?
You don't need to prepare for this test.