Question asked by: 
Date asked: 
Nov 2018
How far can we rely on CA125 readings to monitor whether ovarian cancer has recurred?
Continual measurement of CA125 is not tremendously helpful in my experience
Response by Miss Christine Ang, Guest Expert, Being Together Newcastle
Miss Christine Ang

The problem with CA125 is it’s very non-specific, which means that if you have a cough or cold or appendicitis, your CA125 level will go up.

There was a study called OVO5 that was published about ten years ago that looked at two groups of women.

  • The first group was made up of women who had recurrence, but investigations were only triggered at the time of symptoms.
  • The second group had repeated CA125 tests.

The overall outcomes were no different between the groups. 

It depends which centre you are being treated at whether CA125 will be monitored.

Some tumours do secrete CA125 and some do not. Every test brings anxiety and if a woman is well and symptom free then treatment is not immediately triggered even if the CA125 is high.

With this in mind, continual measurement of CA125 levels is not tremendously helpful in my experience.