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CA 125 (cont.)

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What does an elevated CA 125 mean, and how is the test used?

It is not possible to interpret the meaning of an abnormally high CA 125 without additional information about the particular patient being evaluated. The reason is that blood levels of this protein can be increased in many different benign and malignant conditions. CA 125 is used most often to monitor patients with a known cancer (malignancy) or as one of several tests in the workup of a patient suspected of having a tumor.

The most common use of the test is the monitoring of people with a known cancer that elevates CA 125 level, such as cancer of the ovary. In the patient who is known to have a malignancy, such as ovarian cancer, the CA 125 level can be monitored periodically. A decreasing level generally indicates that therapy, including chemotherapy, has been effective, while an increasing level indicates tumor recurrence. Because of normal test variation, small changes are usually not considered significant. A doubling or halving of the previous value would be important.

In the patient who is being evaluated for a pelvic mass, a CA 125 level greater than 65 is associated with malignancy in approximately 90% of cases. However, without a demonstrable mass, the association is much weaker.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/29/2014

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Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/ca_125/article.htm

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