A 73-year-old woman with no history of disease was referred to our hospital with fatigue and joint pain. Screening blood test showed that her cancer antigen 15-3 (CA 15-3) serum level was elevated to 36.6 U/mL, and a contrast-enhanced computed tomography scan revealed a bladder tumor without metastasis. Cystoscopy showed a papillary and a small kissing tumor, and the histopathological analysis of the bladder tumor obtained by transurethral resection (TUR) showed invasive urothelial carcinoma (UC) with micropapillary variant (pT1). At 4 weeks after TUR, the CA 15-3 serum level was markedly increased to 180.6 U/mL, and radiographic examinations revealed multiple regional and nonregional lymph node metastases. The patient received systemic therapy with gemcitabine and cisplatin. After 3 cycles of chemotherapy, the size of all lymph node metastases reduced by 80% in diameter, and the CA 15-3 serum level decreased from 238.2 to 11.4 U/mL. Immunohistological analysis showed that the bladder tumor was positive for mucin 1, of which CA 15-3 is an epitope. In our patient, changes in the CA 15-3 serum levels were in congruence with the clinical course of advanced micropapillary UC (MPUC). Therefore, the CA 15-3 serum level may be a potentially valuable biomarker for MPUC.
- Bladder cancer
- CA 15-3
- Micropapillary urothelial carcinoma
ASJC Scopus subject areas