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CA125 in ovarian cancer: European Group on Tumor Markers guidelines for clinical use
  1. M. J. DUFFY*,,
  2. J. M. BONFRER,
  3. J. KULPA§,
  4. G. J.S. RUSTIN,
  6. G. C. TORRE#,
  7. M. K. TUXEN* and
  8. M. ZWIRNER††
  1. *Department of Nuclear Medicine, St Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  2. †Department of Surgery, Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  3. ‡Netherlands Cancer Institute, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Huis, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  4. §Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Oncological Center, Cracow Branch, Krakow, Poland
  5. ‖Mount Vernon Centre for Cancer Treatment, Middlesex, United Kingdom
  6. ¶Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Hillerod Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  7. #Bogliasco, Italy
  8. **Department of Oncology, Herlev Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  9. ††Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Tubingen, Tubingen, Germany
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Professor M.J. Duffy, Nuclear Medicine Department, St Vincent's University Hospital, Elm Park, Dublin 4, Ireland. Email: michael.j.duffy{at}


CA125 is currently the most widely used tumor marker for ovarian epithelial cancer. The aim of this article is to provide guidelines for the routine clinical use of CA125 in patients with ovarian cancer. Due to lack of sensitivity for stage I disease and lack of specificity, CA125 is of little value in the detection of early ovarian cancer. At present, therefore, CA125, either alone or in combination with other modalities, cannot be recommended for screening for ovarian cancer in asymptomatic women outside the context of a randomized controlled trial. Preoperative levels in postmenopausal women, however, may aid the differentiation of benign and malignant pelvic masses. Serial levels during chemotherapy for ovarian cancer are useful for assessing response to treatment. Although serial monitoring following initial chemotherapy can lead to the early detection of recurrent disease, the clinical value of this lead-time is unclear. CA125 is the ovarian cancer marker against which new markers for this malignancy should be judged.

  • CA125
  • European Group on Tumor Markers (EGTM)
  • guidelines
  • ovarian cancer

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