A risk model for ovarian carcinoma patients using CA 125: Time to normalization renders second-look laparotomy redundant

Giuseppe Frasci, Salvatore Conforti, Fulvio Zullo, Pasquale Mastrantonio, Giuseppe Comella, Pasquale Comella, Giovanni Persico, Rosario Vincenzo Iaffaioli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND. We evaluated the incorporation of CA 125 normalization times into a prognostic model based on pretreatment variables in patients with ovarian carcinoma to determine if they could render second-look laparotomy (SLL) redundant. METHODS. A total of 54 consecutive patients with ovarian carcinoma who underwent SLL, between 1985 and 1990 were included in this analysis. At diagnosis, all of the patients had abnormal CA-125 serum levels, which fell to within the normal range during chemotherapy. Cox's model was used to select pretreatment variables relevant for prognosis. The influence of the time to normalization of CA 125 (≤ vs. > 1 months) and the capability of SLL results to modify prognostic prediction, were also evaluated. RESULTS. The size of the residual tumor at the beginning of therapy, and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status (PS) were independently predictive of survival. The time to normalization of CA 125 serum levels (analyzed either as a continuous or as a two-category variable) also had an independent prognostic role when included in the model. When we examined the inclusion of both CA 125 parameter and SLL into the model together, we found that only CA 125 continued to have an independent prognostic relevance. On the basis of the two pretreatment parameters (PS and rumor size) and of this response parameter (time to normalization of CA 125 values) we selected six subgroups of patients having different outcomes (log rank test of equality over-strata <0.001). Patients with good prognostic pretreatment variables, and those with intermediate prognosis at the beginning of therapy who showed a quick normalization of CA 125, had an 80% 5-year survival, compared with 16% 5-year survival in the remaining patients. (P <0.0001). CONCLUSIONS. Our data suggest that the survival of patients with advanced ovarian carcinoma could be accurately predicted by considering some pretreatment variables and time to CA 125 normalization together, without performing SLL. Our risk model, however, needs to be validated by larger prospective trials, to draw any definitive conclusions about the abandonment of surgically defined response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1122-1130
Number of pages9
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 15 1996


  • CA 125
  • multivariate analysis
  • ovarian carcinoma
  • risk model
  • second-look laparotomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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