Description: Cancer antigen 125 is present in most ovarian cancer cells. This test is used to measure the amount of CA 125 in the blood. It can be used to monitor treatment, assess patients who have successfully treated cancer, or check if there may be ovarian cancer present.
Also Known As: CA 125 Tumor Marker, Cancer Antigen 125 Test
Collection Method: Blood Draw
Specimen Type: Serum
Test Preparation: No preparation is required
Average Processing Time: 2 to 3 days
When is a CA 125 test ordered?
The CA-125 test may be administered before a woman begins treatment for ovarian cancer to serve as a baseline against which future values can be compared. A healthcare practitioner may order CA-125 testing at intervals during therapy to check the response to treatment. After therapy is finished, CA-125 can be evaluated on a regular basis.
When a woman develops a pelvic mass, a healthcare practitioner may conduct a CA-125 test to determine what's causing it.
When a woman is at high risk of developing ovarian cancer, certain healthcare practitioners may prescribe a CA-125 test and an ultrasound at regular intervals.
What does a CA 125 blood test check for?
Cancer Antigen 125 is a protein found on the surface of most ovarian cancer cells, but not all. In certain instances, this makes the test useful as a tumor marker. The CA-125 test determines how much CA-125 is present in the blood.
CA-125 concentrations in the blood of an ovarian cancer patient may be significantly increased. As a result, the test could be used to track the success of treatment and/or check for cancer recurrence. However, because not all women with ovarian cancer have increased CA-125, the test may not be appropriate in all circumstances.
Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of death among women. According to the American Cancer Society, a woman's lifetime risk of acquiring ovarian cancer is roughly 1 in 75, with a 1 in 100 chance of dying from it. According to the American Cancer Society, around 22,000 new cases are identified each year in the United States, with approximately 14,000 women dying as a result.
Only around 20% of ovarian tumors are discovered in the early stages before they have progressed beyond the ovary. The signs of ovarian cancer are extremely non-specific, which is one of the main reasons they go unnoticed.
Ongoing research is being driven by the need for a dependable tool for the early identification of ovarian cancer in asymptomatic women. In the meanwhile, it's critical to get frequent physicals and pelvic exams and be aware of your family's medical history and symptoms.
Because CA-125 is non-specific, it is not suggested as a screening test for asymptomatic women. CA-125 is produced in small amounts by normal tissues throughout the body, as well as by some malignancies. A range of non-cancerous diseases, such as menstruation, pregnancy, and pelvic inflammatory disease, can cause somewhat high levels in the blood.
Lab tests often ordered with a CA 125 test:
Conditions where a CA 125 test is recommended:
How does my health care provider use a CA 125 test?
Cancer Antigen 125 is a tumor marker that is primarily used to track therapy during ovarian cancer treatment. CA-125 is also used to see if cancer has returned after therapy has ended. CA-125 tests with rising or falling concentrations are generally more informative than a single result.
CA-125 is sometimes used in conjunction with transvaginal ultrasonography to screen and monitor women who are at high risk for ovarian cancer but have not yet been diagnosed with the disease. An inherited genetic mutation in one of two genes, breast cancer gene 1 or breast cancer gene 2, is the most significant risk factor for ovarian cancer. Family history, advancing age, reproductive history and infertility, hormone replacement treatment use, and obesity are all risk factors.
To explore a mass in a woman's lower abdomen area, a CA-125 test may be ordered in conjunction with a transvaginal ultrasound.
However, because the test is non-specific, it is not used to screen women for ovarian cancer. The US Preventive Services Task Force advises against ovarian cancer screening in women. This advice is for asymptomatic women only; it does not apply to women who are at a high risk of developing ovarian cancer, such as those who have a genetic mutation.
There is currently no single reliable approach for detecting ovarian cancer in asymptomatic women. Only around 20% of ovarian tumors are discovered in their early stages, before they have progressed beyond the ovary. The signs of ovarian cancer are extremely non-specific, which is one reason they go unnoticed. In the meanwhile, it's critical to get frequent physicals, pelvic checks, and be aware of family history and other risk factors.
What do my CA 125 test results mean?
If CA-125 levels drop throughout treatment, it usually means that the malignancy is responding to it. If CA-125 levels increase or remain unchanged, the cancer may not be responding to treatment. CA-125 values that are elevated after therapy may suggest that the cancer has returned.
If a woman has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and has a normal baseline CA-125 level, the test is unlikely to be beneficial in monitoring her illness. CA-125 is not a suitable predictor of disease development in this scenario because the ovarian cancer may not be making it.
A considerably raised CA-125 is concerning in a woman with a pelvic mass or in a woman who has a high risk of developing ovarian cancer, but it does not always imply ovarian cancer. This discovery would lead to more testing and evaluation.
We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.