Dr. Singh describes CA-125 and shares how CA-125 assays are useful for monitoring ovarian cancer.
CA-125 is a serum, is a product of probably the cell surface of ovarian cancers and really, you know, a fabulous test for monitoring ovarian cancer. So in about somewhere between 70 and 80 percent of ovarian cancers, we’ll produce CA-125, and will have it measurable in the bloodstream. And it’s a very sensitive test in terms of if the cancer comes back, often that blood test will be elevated even prior to anyone having symptoms or having scans that are positive.
The tricky thing with CA-125 is it can also be elevated in varying non-cancer related things: endometriosis, fibroids, diverticulitis, liver disease, psoriasis, hepatitis, heart disease, and so there’s lots of other things that CA-125 does.
That’s that whole, we talked about for ovarian cancer screening, kind of thinking about a panel, and we’re probably thinking the same is going to end up being good for surveilling or watching people who have had ovarian cancer and currently are in remission or don’t have it right now.
There is a test that’s being evaluated now called HE4 that I think is very, very promising and helping us with that, that has less overlap with some things like endometriosis, at least in the preliminary data. Still need to do bigger studies where we follow it over time, as opposed to the retrospective serum bank studies that have been done so far.
Again, that panel issue, there are some other blood tests, there’s glycodelin, and there’s some other things that sound quite exciting that will be included in panels that will help us figure those things out.
About Dr. Diljeet K. Singh, M.D., Dr.P.H.:
Dr. Diljeet K. Singh, M.D., Dr.P.H., is a gynecologic oncologist and is Co-Director of the Northwestern Ovarian Cancer Early Detection and Prevention Program. She is part of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois.
Dr. Singh attended medical school at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. She completed her residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and her fellowship at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.
Dr. Singh specializes in gynecologic, cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar cancers.