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Surg Gynecol Obstet. 1989 May;168(5):407-12.

Temporary elevation of CA 125 after abdominal surgical treatment for benign disease and cancer.

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Department of Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota 55905.


Analyses of preoperative and one to seven day postoperative determinations of CA 19-9, carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and CA 125 levels in 873 patients indicate that postoperative CA 19-9 and CEA serum levels were within the expected technical variance of the preoperative assay values in patients who were considered to have negative findings (below the reference value) from these tests preoperatively. If the test results were preoperatively positive in patients with cancer, they decreased postoperatively to or below normal reference values, unless the operation was palliative and significant tumor removal was not possible. For patients with a preoperative positive CA 125 level (greater than 35 units per mililiter), the postoperative serum levels were comparable with the CEA and CA 19-9 result. However, when the preoperative CA 125 level was within normal limits, 62 per cent of the patients had postoperative elevations, often to levels of less than 35 units per milliliter. Sequential postoperative determinations of CA 125 in 21 patients revealed that maximum levels of CA 125 were seen about two to four hours after the operation and that elevations persisted for as long as three months. Inferential evidence suggests that postoperative increases in serum CA 125 occur from incision and healing of the peritoneum and omentum by de novo synthesis of this antigen rather than shedding from tissues. Patients with CA 125 negative results and with carcinoma of the ovary having postoperative increases of this antigen within two months of the operation may pose a difficult problem in interpretations, and such patients require further investigation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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