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High CA 125 (Carcinoma Antigen) in a blood test

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High CA 125 (Carcinoma Antigen) in a blood test
Last update: 27/10/2021

What is a high CA 125 (Carcinoma Antigen) in a blood test called?

  • High CA 125

What is the normal CA 125 (Carcinoma Antigen) in a blood test?

If you need to know which are the CA 125 reference ranges or you require more information about the role of CA 125 in the blood, you can visit normal CA 125 (Carcinoma Antigen) in a blood test

What does a high CA 125 (Carcinoma Antigen) mean?

High concentrations of CA 125 antigen are associated with ovarian cancer and other malignant disease (pancreatic, lung, cervical, etc.)

However, it can be elevated also in benign diseases. For example, the serum CA-125 is elevated in 1% of normal healthy women, 3% of normal healthy women with benign ovarian diseases, 6% of patients with non-neoplastic conditions (endometriosis, uterine fibrosis, acute salpingitis, hepatic diseases and inflammation of the peritoneum or pericardium).

  • Moderate CA 125 (Carcinoma Antigen) increase (35 - 65 U/mL in adult women):

    A moderate CA 125 increase may be due to malignant tumors and in some cases due to benign diseases.

    You should talk with your doctor because the doctor probably has requested the test to know if you suffer from ovarian cancer.

    It is also advisable to perform the CEA (Carcinoembryonic Antigen) test. If the rate CA-125/CEA is high (over 25) there is a high probability to be a malignant ovarian cancer. If not, it is usually due to other causes.

  • Severe CA 125 (Carcinoma Antigen) increase (> 65 U/mL in adult women):

    The CA-125 antigen level is very high and a severe increase is usually a sign of ovarian cancer.

    If the high level is due to an ovarian cancer the concentration of CA 125 correlates with tumor size and staging. The typical values of CA-125 in case of ovarian cancer are between 65 U/ml and 100 U/ml.

    The test is used to follow patients once they have been diagnosed as having ovarian cancer. A decrease in the CA 125 concentration by a factor of 10 after the first cycle of chemotherapy is indicative of improvement. Persistent elevation of CA 125 after three cycles of chemotherapy is indicative of a poor prognosis. CA 125 correlates with disease progression or regression in 80% to 90% of cases.

Which factors can raise the CA 125 (Carcinoma Antigen) in a blood test?

There are some health circumstances than can raise the CA 125 (Carcinoma Antigen) in a blood test:

  • Pregnancy
  • Menstruation

Which diseases can raise your CA 125 (Carcinoma Antigen) in a blood test?

The most common diseases why the CA 125 (Carcinoma Antigen) can be higher than normal are:

  • Ovarian cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Small-cell lung cancer
  • Large-cell lung cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Endometriosis
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Pericarditis
  • Breast cancer
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Salpingitis
  • Peritonitis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cirrhosis

What can I do to lower the CA 125 (Carcinoma Antigen) in a blood test?

CA 125 is commonly used as a tumor marker. It may be also high in some benign diseases. The best way to reduce the CA 125 level in the blood is by treating the underlying disease.

Where can I find more information about CA 125 (Carcinoma Antigen) in a blood test?

You can visit our pages about:

Which values are considered a high CA 125 (Carcinoma Antigen) in a blood test?

The following values are considered to be above the normal range:

IMPORTANT: These levels are expressed in U/ml. They are an example of a healthy woman of about 40 years old with no known disease and not taking any medication. The ranges can be different depending on the laboratory or on your personal circumstances.

CA 125
Moderate CA 125 increase
36 U/mL37 U/mL38 U/mL39 U/mL40 U/mL41 U/mL42 U/mL43 U/mL
44 U/mL45 U/mL46 U/mL47 U/mL48 U/mL49 U/mL50 U/mL51 U/mL
52 U/mL53 U/mL54 U/mL55 U/mL56 U/mL57 U/mL58 U/mL59 U/mL
60 U/mL61 U/mL62 U/mL63 U/mL64 U/mL65 U/mL  
Severe CA 125 increase
66 U/mL67 U/mL68 U/mL69 U/mL70 U/mL71 U/mL72 U/mL73 U/mL
74 U/mL75 U/mL76 U/mL77 U/mL78 U/mL79 U/mL80 U/mL81 U/mL
82 U/mL83 U/mL84 U/mL85 U/mL86 U/mL87 U/mL88 U/mL89 U/mL
90 U/mL91 U/mL92 U/mL93 U/mL94 U/mL95 U/mL96 U/mL97 U/mL
98 U/mL99 U/mL100 U/mL101 U/mL102 U/mL103 U/mL104 U/mL105 U/mL
106 U/mL107 U/mL108 U/mL109 U/mL110 U/mL111 U/mL112 U/mL113 U/mL
114 U/mL115 U/mL116 U/mL117 U/mL118 U/mL119 U/mL120 U/mL121 U/mL
122 U/mL123 U/mL124 U/mL125 U/mL126 U/mL127 U/mL128 U/mL129 U/mL
130 U/mL131 U/mL132 U/mL133 U/mL134 U/mL135 U/mL136 U/mL137 U/mL
138 U/mL139 U/mL140 U/mL141 U/mL142 U/mL143 U/mL144 U/mL145 U/mL
146 U/mL147 U/mL148 U/mL149 U/mL150 U/mL151 U/mL152 U/mL153 U/mL
154 U/mL155 U/mL156 U/mL157 U/mL158 U/mL159 U/mL160 U/mL161 U/mL
162 U/mL163 U/mL164 U/mL165 U/mL166 U/mL167 U/mL168 U/mL169 U/mL
170 U/mL171 U/mL172 U/mL173 U/mL174 U/mL175 U/mL176 U/mL177 U/mL
178 U/mL179 U/mL180 U/mL181 U/mL182 U/mL183 U/mL184 U/mL185 U/mL
186 U/mL187 U/mL188 U/mL189 U/mL190 U/mL191 U/mL192 U/mL193 U/mL
194 U/mL195 U/mL196 U/mL197 U/mL198 U/mL199 U/mL200 U/mL 
Medically reviewed by our Medical staff on 27/10/2021

Bibliography

  • Concise Book of Medical Laboratory Technology: Methods and Interpretations. 2nd Edition. 2015. Ramnik Sood. ISBN: 978-93-5152-333-8. Pag. 685.
  • Laboratory tests and diagnostic procedures : with nursing diagnoses. Jane Vincent Corbett, Angela Denise Banks. 8th ed. 2013. ISBN: 978-0-13-237332-6. Pag. 248.
  • Tietz. Fundamentals of Clinical Chemistry. Carl A. Burtis, Edward R. Ashwood, David e. Bruns. 6th edition. 2008. Pag 354. ISBN: 978-0-7216-3865-2.

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