CA-125 and Endometriosis
CA-125 is a protein that is a tumor marker or biomarker, which is a substance that is found in greater concentration in tumor cells than in other cells of the body. In particular, CA-125 is present in greater concentration in ovarian cancer cells than in other cells. CA-125 levels are high in about 1% of healthy women and are not always a sign of ovarian cancer, but elevated levels have also been associated with endometriosis. Measuring CA 125 in women with suspected endometriosis could help to confirm the condition and eliminate the need for surgical exploration.
CA-125 is good marker for more advanced endometriosis and can be used to provide a full evaluation of the disease and potential monitor advanced stage 3 or 4 endometriosis patients for recurrence. The Endometriosis Treatment Center of America recommends CA-125 testing in the initial workup of endometriosis and to monitor for recurrence in those patients who have advanced stage disease. This will us to determine which patients will require earlier intervention if there is an early subtle return of symptomatology.
CA-125 can be used clinically to help in the early diagnosis and the long-term treatment of advanced stage endometriosis. CA-125 can also be used to significantly improve the timing for any additional medical or surgical treatment in the case of recurrence of endometriosis disease.