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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1996 Jan;174(1 Pt 1):107-14.

Serum tumor marker immunoassays in gynecologic oncology: establishment of reference values.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Academic Hospital, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Our purpose was to establish reference values for six monoclonal antibody-based serum immunoassays applied in patients with carcinoma of the female genital tract.


Sera from 938 healthy women (median age 48.0 years, range 37 to 76 years) were assayed for levels of CA 125, CA 15.3 (two methods), CA M29, CA M26, and mucin-like cancer antigen (MCA).


Reference values, defined as those including 95% of healthy controls, were in women with unknown menopausal status as follows: CA 125, 37 U/ml; CA 15.3 (Centocor), 33 U/ml; CA 15.3 (Boehringer Mannheim), 28 U/ml; CA M26, 83 U/ml; CA M29, 13 U/ml; and MCA, 19 U/ml. Postmenopausal values were significantly lower for CA 125 and CA M26 and significantly higher for CA M29 and CA 15.3 (both methods). MCA serum levels were age independent.


Reference values found were not in accord with those generally applied in gynecologic oncology. In addition, serum levels were influenced significantly by menopausal status (except with MCA).

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