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Preoperative CA-125 levels predict poor prognostic pathologic features in early stage, FIGO grade 1 and 2 endometrial adenocarcinoma
  1. P. G. Rose*,
  2. F. R. Reale*,,
  3. M. L. Beurskens* and
  4. R. E. Hunter*
  1. * The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Department of Pathology
  2. The University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA
  1. Address for correspondence: Peter G. Rose, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The University of Massachusetts Medical School, 55 Lake Ave. North, Worcester, MA 01655, USA.


Preoperative CA-125 levels were studied in patients with favorable histology and early clinical stage endometrial adenocarcinoma to determine its ability to predict the presence of poor pathologic prognostic features on final pathology. One hundred and one patients with clinical stage I (N = 65) or II (N = 19) or diagnosed by endometrial curettage (EMC) only (N-17) with grade 1 or 2 endometrial adenocarcinoma without gross cervical involvement underwent preoperative CA-125 levels. Final pathology was reviewed for five poor prognostic pathologic features: FIGO grade 3 histology, unfavorable histologic type (sarcoma, clear cell, or papillary serous), invasion into the outer third of the myometrium, extension to the cervix, and extra-uterine metastases. Fifteen patients (14.9%) had CA-125 levels greater than 30 IU ml−1. Of these 15 patients, 12 had one or more of the five poor prognostic pathologic features (positive predictive value 80.0%, specificity 95.8%, P < 0.0001). However, since 30 of the 101 patients were found to have one or more of these poor prognostic pathologic features the sensitivity was only 40.0%. When clinical stage I patients were analyzed separately three patients (4.6%) had CA-125 levels greater than 30 IU ml −1 (positive predictive value 100%, specificity of 100%, sensitivity of 21.4%, P = 0.008). For patients with clinical stage II carcinoma, CA-125 was not predictive of pathologic findings except as a negative predictor of disease in a subgroup of patients whose endocervical curettage (ECC) demonstrated carcinoma unattached to endocervical tissue. In patients diagnosed by EMC only, an elevated CA-125 level was associated with poor prognostic pathologic features (P = 0.001). An elevated preoperative CA-125 reliably predicts advanced disease even in patients with apparently favorable histology and clinical stage, however the sensitivity of this method remains low.

  • endometrial carcinoma
  • preoperative CA-125.

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