The diagnostic performance of CA125 for the detection of ovarian and non-ovarian cancer in primary care: A population-based cohort study

by Garth Funston, Willie Hamilton, Gary Abel, Emma J. Crosbie, Brian Rous, Fiona M. Walter


The serum biomarker cancer antigen 125 (CA125) is widely used as an investigation for possible ovarian cancer in symptomatic women presenting to primary care. However, its diagnostic performance in this setting is unknown. We evaluated the performance of CA125 in primary care for the detection of ovarian and non-ovarian cancers.

Methods and findings

We studied women in the United Kingdom Clinical Practice Research Datalink with a CA125 test performed between 1 May 2011–31 December 2014. Ovarian and non-ovarian cancers diagnosed in the year following CA125 testing were identified from the cancer registry. Women were categorized by age: Conclusions

CA125 is a useful test for ovarian cancer detection in primary care, particularly in women ≥50 years old. Clinicians should also consider non-ovarian cancers in women with high CA125 levels, especially if ovarian cancer has been excluded, in order to prevent diagnostic delay. Our results enable clinicians and patients to determine the estimated probability of ovarian cancer and all cancers at any CA125 level and age, which can be used to guide individual decisions on the need for further investigation or referral.

Paper source
Plos Journal

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