Medline: 2651469

Human Reproduction 4(1): 1-12, 1989.

The CA 125 tumour-associated antigen: a review of the literature.

Jacobs I, Bast RC


CA 125 is an antigenic determinant on a high-molecular-weight glycoprotein recognized by a monoclonal antibody which was raised using an ovarian cancer cell line as an immunogen. During the last 5 years the studies reviewed in this paper have provided information concerning the nature, distribution and clinical significance of CA 125. The CA 125 determinant is expressed by epithelial ovarian tumours and various other pathological and normal tissues of Mullerian origin. The function of the glycoprotein expressing CA 125 remains unclear but the distribution of the antigen suggests that it may have a physiological role. The highest serum levels of CA 125 are found in ovarian cancer patients, but elevation of serum CA 125 may also be associated with other malignancies and benign and physiological states, including pregnancy, endometriosis and menstruation. Despite limitations of sensitivity and specificity serum CA 125 estimation is of clinical value in the pre-operative diagnosis and monitoring of ovarian malignancy and may be a prognostic indicator for this disease. The role of CA 125 in screening for early-stage ovarian cancer is currently under investigation. Recent reports suggest that serum CA 125 measurement may also be of value as a prognostic indicator in endometrial cancer and as a reflection of disease status in advanced endometriosis. (91 Refs)

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