Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Immunohistochemical detection of CA-125 and carcinoembryonic antigen in ovarian tumors in relation to corresponding preoperative serum levels
  3. A. TAUBE and
  4. S. STÉNSON*
  1. *From the Departments of Gynecological Oncology
  2. Pathology, Uppsala University Hospital
  3. Department of Statistics, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  1. Address for correspondence: Dr Bengt Tholander, Department of Gynecologic Oncology, Uppsala University Hospital S 751 85 Uppsala, Sweden.


The immunohistochemically detectable expression of CA-125 and CEA in ovarian tumor tissue from 187 patients was related to corresponding preoperative serum levels. A strong positive association between tissue expression and the serum level of both the CA-125 and CEA antigens was found in cases of invasive epithelial ovarian carcinoma. However, this relationship was absent for CA-125 in borderline cases and patients with benign ovarian tumors, although the antigen frequently was detectable in them. The presence of ascites could be verified in 3 of 10 cases with benign CA-125 negative tumors, but elevated CA-125 levels in serum. ‘False negative’ CA-125 levels were found in 6 borderline and 7 true invasive carcinoma cases despite positive tissue staining. Eight of those patients had limited stage I disease. The data suggests that although the tissue expression of the CA-125 and CEA antigens in invasive ovarian carcinoma has an important influence in the corresponding serum level, compartment barriers and low cell turnover in benign, and to a lesser extent borderline, cases result in low serum levels. In addition, other factors influence serum levels of CA-125, such as secondary peritoneal response with or without ascites, which may cause ‘falsely elevated’ CA-125 results in benign disease.

  • CA-125
  • CEA
  • immunocytochemistry
  • ovarian neoplasms
  • serodiagnosis
  • tumor antigens

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.