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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-03-24 (EDT)

See Also Lab Tests

CA-125 is used primarily in the detection of ovarian cancer. It can also be used to determine the extent of disease and to monitor the response to treatment.[1], [2]


  • CA-125 is a tumor marker with a high degree of sensitivity and specificity for ovarian cancer.
  • Although this tumor marker cannot be used to diagnose ovarian cancer, it can help support the diagnosis of ovarian cancer and determine a patient's response to therapy.
  • Comparative testing can show a progressive decline in CA-125 levels for patients responding to treatment.
  • This test is not as effective at screening asymptomatic women due to its lack of specificity. Therefore it is mainly used in "high risk" women.

Patient Preparation

  • No fasting required.
  • Factors which can cause increased levels
  • First trimester of pregnancy, normal menstruation, patients with benign peritoneal diseases (e.g. cirrhosis, endometriosis)
  • Factors which can cause decreased levels
  • None noted

Clinical Implications

High levels indicate:

  • Malignant Disorders:

Benign disorders:

Associated Tests


  1. Pagana Kathleen D, Pagana Timothy J (2006) Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, Mosby.
  2. Weatherby Dicken, Ferguson Scott (2002) Blood Chemistry and CBC Analysis: Clinical Laboratory Testing from a Functional Perspective, Bear Mountain.