Background: Most malignancies with peritoneal infiltration, especially ovarian cancers and chronic liver diseases associated with ascites give rise to high serum CA-125 levels. Tuberculous peritonitis is another cause for high serum CA-125 levels.
Aim: To investigate the relation between serum CA-125 level and response to treatment in tuberculous peritonitis patients.
Patients: Ten patients with tuberculous peritonitis were enrolled in the study.
Method: Definite diagnosis of tuberculous peritonitis was made by acid-fast smears, specific culture, and polymerase chain reaction. Serum CA-125 levels were measured before and at the fourth month of treatment.
Results: Before antituberculous treatment, serum CA-125 levels of all patients were very high (mean+/-SD: 475. 80+/-106. 19 U/ml) and comparable with those of patients with ovarian cancers. At the end of the fourth month of treatment, serum CA-125 levels in all patients decreased to within normal limits (<35 U/ml)(20.80:+/-5.18 U/ml) in parallel with the clinical improvement. The differences in CA125 levels before and after treatment were statistically significant (p<0.001).
Conclusions: Results of our study suggest that serum CA-125 levels in patients with tuberculous peritonitis are as high as ovarian cancers associated with peritoneal infiltration. By the end of the fourth month of antituberculous therapy, serum CA-125 levels have returned to normal. We, therefore, suggest that serum CA-125 can be used to evaluate the efficacy of therapy in tuberculous peritonitis.