CA 15-3 as a tumor marker in gynecological malignancies

G. Scambia, P. Benedetti Panici, G. Baiocchi, L. Perrone, S. Greggi, S. Mancuso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Serum levels of CA 15-3 were measured in 778 samples from 270 patients with benign and malignant gynecological conditions. Malignant tumors were present in 180 patients including 58 cases with cancer of the ovary, 47 of the endometrium, 61 of the cervix, and 14 of the vulva. The 90 cases with benign conditions included 24 patients with ovarian tumors, 28 with fibromyomatosis, 18 with endometriosis, and 20 with endometrial hyperplasia. Of 180 cancer patients, CA 15-3 serum levels were elevated (>30 U/ml) in 74 cases (41%) and the frequency of abnormal marker values increased with clinical stage. Of 90 patients with benign conditions, high CA 15-3 levels were found in 5 cases (6%) with benign ovarian tumors. Elevated levels of the marker were most commonly seen in ovarian cancer patients (71%). In endometrial, cervical, and vulvar cancer abnormal CA 15-3 values occurred in 32, 26, and 14%, respectively. In endometrial cancer the percentage of positive marker levels increased with more infiltrating and/or less differentiated tumors. A positive correlation was found between residual tumor after surgery and CA 15-3 levels. Serial measurements in sera of patients who underwent chemotherapy showed a good correlation with response to treatment. CA 15-3 values were correlated with clinical course of disease in 87% of cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-273
Number of pages9
JournalGynecologic Oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Oncology


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