CA-125 (Cancer antigen-Ovary 125)

Clinical definition of the CA-125 test
The cancer antigen 125 (CA-125) is a protein present on the surface of ovarian cancer cells. It is produced by certain cells in the body including uterine tubes, uterus, cervix and the lining of the chest and abdominal cavities. Elevated concentrations of CA-125 are seen in ovarian cancer and other non cancerous conditions such as menstruation, pregnancy and pelvic inflammatory disease. The Cancer Antigen 125 (CA-125) test measures the amount of CA-125 in the blood.

Why is the CA-125 test done?
CA- 125 test is done to evaluate ovarian cancer treatment.

What are the common signs/symptoms when the CA-125 test is done?

  • Pressure or pain in the abdomen, pelvis, back  or legs
  • A swollen or bloated abdomen
  • Nausea, indigestion, gas, constipation, or diarrhea
  • Tiredness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding (heavy periods, or bleeding after menopause)
  • Abdominal discomfort, pressure, bloating, or swelling
  • Urinary Urgency and/or change in bowel habits
  • Pelvic pain/discomfort
  • Loss of appetite, Indigestion, Gas or Nausea

Who should do the CA-125 test (Target population)?
Persons showing the above signs & symptoms; women with personal history of breast cancer; women who have not had children and are taking fertility drugs and women who have had the hormone replacement therapy.

What should I do before the CA-125 test?

Specimen type

Specimen collection procedure

Preparatory instructions before the test *

Serum (Blood Sample)


Collection of blood from a vein, usually from the arm.

No Fasting Required.

No other special preparations required.

*Subjects suffering from any illness or on oral or injectable medications are advised to consult their physician prior to requesting any tests or procedures.

How do I interpret my CA-125 test results?

Reference Range*




‘*A Reference range is a set of values which helps the healthcare professional to interpret a medical test. It may vary with age, gender, and other factors. Reference ranges may also vary between labs, in value & units depending on instruments used and method of establishment of reference ranges’

Diseases/conditions related to the CA-125 test

  • Breast cancer
  • Epithelial tumor
  • Germ cell tumor
  • Stromal tumor
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease

Other tests related to the CA-125 test

  • Tumor marker BRCA-1
  • Tumor marker BRCA-2

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