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Evaluation of serum CA 125 level as a tumor marker in borderline tumors of the ovary
  1. C. G. TropÉ,
  2. A. Ph. Makar*,
  3. J. Kærn*,
  4. G. B. Kristensen*,
  5. I. Vergote* and
  6. O. P. BØRmer
  1. * Departments of Gynecologic Oncology and the Central Laboratory
  2. of the Norwegian Radium Hospital, Oslo, Norway
  1. Address for correspondence: Dr G.B. Kristensen, Department of Gynecologic Oncology, The Norwegian Radium Hospital, Montebello, N-0310, Oslo, Norway.


Serum CA 125 was evaluated as a tumor marker in 85 patients with borderline ovarian tumors. Serum CA 125 levels were elevated preoperatively in 18 of 20 (90%) samples (median 66, range 5–272 U ml−1). Preoperative serum CA 125 levels did not correlate to FIGO stage. Preoperative serum CA 125 levels were elevated in seven of nine (78%) with serous tumors (median 131, range 5–272 U ml−1) and in all 11 with mucinous tumors (median 62, range 41–157 U ml−1). There was no significant difference in the CA 125 levels between these two histologic types. Postoperative serum CA 125 levels, measured 3–6 weeks after primary laparotomy, were significantly lower than the preoperative ones (P < 0.001). No difference in the postoperative CA 125 levels was found between those with and those without residual disease after surgery. Postoperative serum CA 125 levels were elevated in eight of 60 (13%) without residual tumor. None of these had relapsed at the time of analysis (26–87 months after surgery). Serum CA 125 levels tended to correlate with disease evolution during chemotherapy. Two with disease remissions had falling levels, one with stable disease had falling level and one with disease progression had rising level. Serum CA 125 samples were obtained before second-look laparotomy in seven patients. Two with negative findings at second-look had normal levels. Of five with positive findings at laparotomy only two had elevated serum CA 125 levels. Disease relapse was associated with elevated serum CA 125 levels in only one of six patients.

  • borderline tumors
  • CA 125.

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