Tumoral markers (CA 125 - CEA) in the screening of ovarian cancer

S. Alberico, M. C. Facca, R. Millo, L. Radillo, G. P. Mandruzzato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ovarian cancer has high rate of mortality among malignant gynecologic tumors. Because of its aggressiveness and low rate of 5 year survival of patients treated, it is important to realise a screening program for its early diagnosis. Today, immunologic research is directed to the study of tumoral markers that allow us to detect the presence of still clinically silent ovarian neoplasms. Some tumoral markers such as CEA and CA 125 are available for post-surgical monitoring of patients treated for ovarian cancer. The Authors have carried out a study to evaluate the possibility of their use in the depistage of ovarian neoplastic pathology. A blood sample was taken for the evaluation of serum CEA and CA 125 in a series of 520 patients older than 45 years, who did not complain of signs or symptoms of pelvic pathology. A pathologic value for CEA was considered higher than 7.3 ng/ml and for CA 125 greater than 37 U/ml. For CEA 2.5% (13 cases) presented pathologic values compared to 2.88% (15 cases) for CA 125. One third of cases (0.5%) with high levels of CEA had repeated blood samples. 3 of them had confirmed high levels of CEA but echotomography performed in these patients was negative for pathologic ovarian masses. 15 patients had CA 125 high levels. 3 out of 15 cases repeated the blood sample that resulted normal. On 11 of these cases an echotomography was also performed that diagnosed a uterine myomatosis in 4 patients. Then a group of 9 patients affected by ovarian cancer was submitted to blood sampling for CEA and CA 125 with the aim of verifying the sensibility and specificity of these markers. CEA never showed pathologic values; CA 125 showed increased values in 7 out of 9 cases (77.7%). Among CEA and CA 125 the latter showed a higher sensibility, predictability and specificity. The Authors conclude that the use of CA 125 could, therefore, be performed, to contribute to the diagnosis of ovarian cancer, in association with echotomography.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-489
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Gynaecological Oncology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Oncology


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