Objective To present an update of the European Group on Tumor Markers guidelines for serum markers in epithelial ovarian cancer.
Methods Systematic literature survey from 2008 to 2013. The articles were evaluated by level of evidence and strength of recommendation.
Results Because of its low sensitivity (50–62% for early stage epithelial ovarian cancer) and limited specificity (94–98.5%), cancer antigen (CA) 125 (CA125) is not recommended as a screening test in asymptomatic women. The Risk of Malignancy Index, which includes CA125, transvaginal ultrasound, and menopausal status, is recommended for the differential diagnosis of a pelvic mass. Because human epididymis protein 4 has been reported to have superior specificity to CA125, especially in premenopausal women, it may be considered either alone or as part of the risk of ovarian malignancy algorithm, in the differential diagnosis of pelvic masses, especially in such women. CA125 should be used to monitor response to first-line chemotherapy using the previously published criteria of the Gynecological Cancer Intergroup, that is, at least a 50% reduction of a pretreatment sample of 70 kU/L or greater. The value of CA125 in posttherapy surveillance is less clear. Although a prospective randomized trial concluded that early administration of chemotherapy based on increasing CA125 levels had no effect on survival, European Group on Tumor Markers state that monitoring with CA125 in this situation should occur, especially if the patient is a candidate for secondary cytoreductive surgery.
Conclusions At present, CA125 remains the most important biomarker for epithelial ovarian cancer, excluding tumors of mucinous origin.
- Ovarian cancer
- Differential diagnosis
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R.C.B. receives royalties for CA125 from Fujirebio Diagnostics Inc. and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of Vermillion.
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