Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 25, 2009

Predictive value of CA 125 and CA 72-4 in ovarian borderline tumors

Miriam S. Lenhard, Stefanie Nehring, Dorothea Nagel, Doris Mayr, Angela Kirschenhofer, Linda Hertlein, Klaus Friese, Petra Stieber and Alexander Burges


Background: The aim of this study was to assess the prognostic value of cancer antigen (CA) 125 and CA 72-4 in patients with ovarian borderline tumor (BOT).

Methods: All women diagnosed and treated for BOT at our institution between 1981 and 2008 were included into this retrospective study (n=101). Preoperatively collected serum samples were analyzed for CA 125 (Architect, Abbott and Elecsys, Roche) and CA 72-4 (Elecsys, Roche) with reference to clinical data and compared to healthy women (n=109) and ovarian cancer patients (n=130).

Results: With a median of 34.7 U/mL (range 18.1–385.0 U/mL) for CA 125 and 2.3 U/mL (range 0.2–277.0 U/mL) for CA 72-4, serum tumor markers in BOT patients were significantly elevated as compared to healthy women with a median CA 125 of 13.5 U/mL (range 4.0–49.7 U/mL) and median CA 72-4 of 0.8 U/mL (range 0.2–20.6 U/mL). In addition, there was a significant difference compared with ovarian cancer patients who showed a median CA 125 of 401.5 U/mL (range 12.5–35,813 U/mL), but no difference was observed for CA 72-4 (median 3.9 U/mL, range 0.3–10,068 U/mL). Patients with a pT1a tumor stage had significantly lower values of CA 125 but not of CA 72-4 compared with individuals with higher tumor stages (median CA 125 29.9 U/mL for pT1a vs. 50.9 U/mL for >pT1a; p=0.014). There was a trend for increased concentrations of CA 125 but not of CA 72-4 in the presence of ascites, endometriosis or peritoneal implants at primary diagnosis. With respect to the prognostic value of CA 125 or CA 72-4, CA 125 was significantly higher at primary diagnosis in patients who later developed recurrence (251.0 U/mL vs. 34.65 U/mL, p=0.012).

Conclusions: Serum CA 125 and CA 72-4 concentrations in BOT patients differ from healthy controls and patients with ovarian cancer. CA 125, but not CA 72-4, at primary diagnosis correlates with tumor stage and tends to be increased in the presence of ascites, endometriosis or peritoneal implants. Moreover, CA 125 at primary diagnosis appears to have prognostic value for recurrence.

Clin Chem Lab Med 2009;47:537–42.

Corresponding author: Miriam Lenhard, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Campus Großhadern, Marchioninistraße 15, 80337 Munich, Germany Phone: +49-89-7095-0, Fax: +49-89-7095-6724,

Received: 2008-12-18
Accepted: 2009-3-2
Published Online: 2009-03-25
Published in Print: 2009-05-01

©2009 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin New York