What Does Ovarian Cancer Marker Test Mean?

In recent years, ovarian cancer is one of the diseases with high mortality rates in our country. Ovarian cancer, if diagnosed early, has important implications for improving the rate of recovery and limiting the effect on a woman's fertility.

Ovarian cancer marker test is one of the modern methods, used to diagnose ovarian cancer, especially in combination with other tests that will help detect cancer at an early stage which no clear signs and has not metastasized to other parts.

What Is The Marker of CA 125 Ovarian Cancer?

Ovarian Cancer marker CA 125 is a protein that can be produced by ovarian cancer cells and has a high concentration in the blood.

However, there are also some cases that cause CA 125 levels to rise but not cancer as women to the menstrual cycle, ovarian cysts, or endometritis.

CA 125 Test

What is the CA 125 test? It is understandable that the CA 125 test helps measure the concentration of CA 125 in the blood to diagnose disease.

According to statistics, up to 50-70% of cancer patients have higher than normal levels of CA 125 (carcinoma antigen).

Thus, the CA 125 test is a commonly used test for the purpose of diagnosing ovarian cancer and in combination with other tests to contribute to the diagnosis and direction of treatment.


However, the specificity and sensitivity of the CA 125 assay are not high enough to meet the clinical diagnosis. Because through the test, the concentration of CA 125 increases only 50% for early cancer and up to 80% for epithelial ovarian cancer.

For women in the premenopausal period, the CA 125 test result is reliable. But for patients who do not have clear symptoms, the ovarian cancer marker test needs to combine with other types of diagnosis, ultrasound, and other methods to get the most accurate results.

Meaning of CA 125 Test

Helps monitor and treat cancer: When doctors diagnose patients with endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, fallopian tube, or peritoneal cancer, they will be assigned a CA 125 test, through test results help support disease monitoring and treatment.

Ovarian cancer screening in high-risk cases: In a high-risk group, a family history of ovarian cancer is also required. CA 125 for screening and diagnosis.


Help check for cancer recurrence: Through the CA 125 level measurement test, doctors can check the possibility of ovarian cancer coming back after treatment.

For suspected cases of endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, and fallopian tubes, the doctor has also ordered a CA 125 test to check. Usually, up to 80% of the cases result in a high CA 125.

However, the CA 125 test cannot confirm a diagnosis, and if the patient is still in doubt, there will be additional tests such as transvaginal ultrasound and computed tomography.

Who Should Get Tested for CA 125?


Cases designated for the CA 125 test to check include:

  • People with a family history, in the high-risk group, will be tested for tumor markers to screen and detect ovarian cancer early.
  • If the patient suspects ovarian cancer, the doctor will appoint the patient to be tested for CA 125.
  • In case the patient has been diagnosed and treated for ovarian cancer after surgery, the CA 125 test will be conducted regularly to monitor the results of treatment according to the 1-month, 3-month, and 6-month timeline depending on the stage of the disease.
  • When combined with tumor markers such as AFP, β-hCG, CA19-9, CEA, HE4, the CA 125 test has implications for ovarian cancer diagnosis.
  • CA 125 tests, which are considered as markers of cancer type 2, apply in cases where patients are suspected of having lung cancer after markers of type 1 such as CYFRA 21-1, ProGRP, NSE, SCC, and CEA.

Procedure to Conduct CA 125 Test

Before the test, patients do not need to abstain from eating and drinking. Just be careful not to use stimulation that will affect the test results.

Inform your doctor about the medicines you are using and ask your doctor to consult and answer the questions, the attached notes if any for each case.

The sampling procedure is simple and has high safety. Early morning blood samples will give better results than other time frames, so patients should be aware of the timing of the test.


In the beginning, the doctor will wrap the bandage on the hand to stop the blood circulation, next will disinfect the injection area, and then use the needle into the vein to draw blood. The blood sample will be put into the test tube, the patient will be disinfected again.

Time for results depends on the center conducting the test, usually from 3 to 7 days to get results.

What Factors Influence The Results of A CA 125 Test?

There are factors that will affect the results of the ovarian tumor marker test including:

  • For pregnant during the first trimester and normal menstrual cycles, CA 125 levels may result in slight increases.

  • In the case of patients with endometritis, cirrhosis (benign peritonitis), the concentration of CA 125 will increase slightly.

  • Patients who regularly smoke cigarettes, especially smokers prior to testing, will increase CA 125 levels.

  • In patients who have had abdominal surgery for nearly 3 weeks, the level of CA 125 also increased.

In some cases, even though a patient has ovarian cancer, the CA 125 is still normal.


If doctors suspect that the patient has ovarian cancer or other types of cancer, after the CA 125 test, the patient will be asked to perform additional types of diagnostics and biopsy for further examination.

Thus, CA 125 test results sometimes are also affected by different factors, before doing the test you should pay attention and consult a specialist for the most specific guidance.

Result of CA 125 Index

CA 125 results are normal when the reading is in the range: 0—35 units/ml or <35kU / l (SI units).

When did CA 125 increase? An elevated CA 125 can reflect abnormalities in the body, which may arise from medical or medical problems.

The CA 125 index may be related to tumor size in the patient's body:

  • For tumors <1cm in size: The CA 125 may still be in the normal range.
  • For tumors> 2cm in size: The CA 125 index increases> 65U / mL.

CA 125 index used to evaluate the results of ovarian cancer treatment follow-up:

  • CA 125 level will return to normal if the patient is completely removed after surgery about 2 to 3 weeks.
  • If the CA 125 level is still high, it means the cancer is not responding to treatment, now doctors will recommend new treatment regimens tailored to the patient's condition.


CA 125 to help track cancer recurrence: After cancer treatment, patients will be periodically tested for CA 125, if the CA 125 is high, the possibility of cancer recurrence again.

The CA 125 in the prognosis of ovarian cancer:

  • If the patient's CA 125 prior to surgery is> 65 U / mL, this indicates a very poor prognosis.
  • After chemotherapy, CA 125 levels remained high with no signs of lowering indicating a poor prognosis.
  • After 3 treatments, the CA 125 test showed a score of ≤10 U / mL, the average survival time of the patient was 5 years if at CA 125 ≥100 U / mL, the time Average patient survival was at a very low level of only about 7 months.

Not only ovarian cancer, but CA 125 also increases when patients suffer from other cancers such as lung cancer, breast cancer, endometriosis, colorectal cancer. 

Hopefully, through this article, you will have a clear understanding of what the ovarian cancer markers mean in the diagnosis and treatment of the disease, as well as what the high CA 125 results reflect.

When there are any abnormal signs related to ovarian cancer, you need to immediately go to medical facilities to be examined and diagnosed to detect the disease and treat it early.

Please find the nearby location or the nearest branch your home to visit for tests and get quick online results. For more detailed information about our test menu and price list, click here.

The site cannot and does not contain medical advice. The medical information is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Accordingly, before taking any actions based upon such information, we encourage you to consult with the appropriate professionals.

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