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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1989 Mar;160(3):563-6.

Mechanism and clinical significance of elevated CA 125 levels in the sera of pregnant women.

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  • 1Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Faculty of Medicine, Kyoto University, Japan.


To clarify the mechanism of CA 125 elevation in maternal sera, serum levels of CA 125 and CA 19-9 were measured in 122 apparently healthy pregnant women (fifth to fortieth week of gestation) and 50 postpartum women (26 term deliveries and 24 second-trimester induced abortions). Serum levels of CA 125 showed an initial increase by the tenth week and then decreased to less than 35 U/ml, remaining below this level until delivery. However, within 1 hour after term delivery or second-trimester induced abortion, the CA 125 levels showed a second increase and decreased rapidly thereafter. In contrast, serum levels of CA 19-9 did not change significantly during these periods. Combined with our previous finding that the decidua contains abundant CA 125 but little CA 19-9, these results indicate that the elevated CA 125 levels in maternal sera originate from the decidual cells affected by chorionic invasion or the placental separation.

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