What is the role of the cancer antigen 125 (CA-125) level in response to therapy assessment for ovarian cancer?

Updated: Aug 10, 2020
  • Author: Andrew E Green, MD; Chief Editor: Yukio Sonoda, MD  more...
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Answer

National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines recommend that if the cancer antigen 125 (CA-125) level was initially elevated, follow-up should include measurement of CA-125 or other tumor markers. [45] The finding of an elevated serum CA-125 level in the absence of clinical or radiographic disease is relatively common in patients with epithelial ovarian cancer following initial treatment. Management in these cases is controversial.The NCCN notes that recommended options include the following [45] :

  • Enrollment in a clinical trial
  • Delaying treatment (ie, observation) until clinical symptoms arise
  • Providing immediate treatment (category 2B)

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