Ovarian Cancer Canada

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Evaluation of HE4 as an extrabiomarker to CA125 to improve detection of ovarian carcinoma: is it time for a step forward?


Purpose To evaluate human epididymis protein 4 (HE4) as an extrabiomarker to cancer antigen 125 (CA125) to improve the detection of ovarian carcinoma.

Methods Sixty patients with ovarian carcinoma, 50 patients with benign ovarian tumors and 30 healthy women were included in the present study. Serum concentration of HE4 was assayed using ELISA technique, while CA125 was assayed using chemiluminescent enzyme immunoassay.

Results The median CA125 and HE4 serum values were significantly higher among ovarian cancer patients when compared with healthy control However, the median serum levels of CA125 but not HE4 were significantly higher among patients with benign ovarian tumors as compared to healthy women. Based on the receiver operator characteristics curve analysis, HE4 had higher sensitivities than CA125 for the detection of ovarian cancer at 90, 95 and 98 % specificities and the combination of both markers yielded a higher sensitivity than either alone. However, CA125 but not HE4 had higher sensitivities for the detection of benign ovarian tumors at the same specificities. In addition, a positive correlation was observed between HE4 and CA125 among patients with ovarian carcinoma.

Conclusion HE4 is a valuable marker for ovarian cancer diagnosis and when combined with CA125, they had a higher sensitivity at a set specificity, thus providing a more accurate predictor of ovarian cancer than either alone.


Amal Z. Azzam, Doaa I. Hashad, Nahla A. F. Kamel



This entry was posted on July 24, 2013 by in Research Updates.

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