Use of serum-soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 as a new marker of endometriosis

Fertil Steril. 2002 May;77(5):1028-31. doi: 10.1016/s0015-0282(02)02971-0.


Objective: To investigate the hypothesis that soluble intercellular adhesions molecule-1 (sICAM-1) may be used as a new serum marker of endometriosis.

Design: Prospective cohort study.

Setting: An academic department specializing in gynecologic laparoscopy.

Patient(s): Consecutive series of 120 women of reproductive age who underwent laparoscopy for benign gynecologic conditions.

Intervention(s): Data were collected on baseline clinical characteristics, and surgical and histologic diagnosis.

Main outcome measure(s): Serum concentration of both CA125 and sICAM-1.

Result(s): Endometriosis was documented in 71 women (stage I to II in 24 cases and stage III to IV in 47 cases). Serum levels of sICAM-1 were only slightly but not significantly increased in women with endometriosis compared with women without the disease. However, serum concentration of sICAM-1 in the 21 women who were found to have deep peritoneal endometriosis was significantly enhanced when compared with both women without the disease and those with other forms of endometriosis. The sensitivity and specificity of sICAM-1 in detecting deep peritoneal endometriosis were 0.19 and 0.97, respectively; whereas those of CA125 were 0.14 and 0.92, respectively. When both parameters were used concomitantly, the sensitivity and specificity were 0.28 and 0.92, respectively.

Conclusion(s): Although the present study tends to support a role of sICAM-1 in the development of endometriosis, serum concentrations of this molecule do not seem to be an effective indicator for the diagnosis of either the early or advanced stage of endometriosis. However, an integrated clinical and laboratory approach using both CA125 and sICAM-1 may be helpful in specifically identifying women with deep peritoneal endometriosis.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood
  • CA-125 Antigen / blood
  • Cohort Studies
  • Endometriosis / blood*
  • Endometriosis / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / blood*
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / chemistry
  • Peritoneal Diseases / blood
  • Peritoneal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Solubility


  • Biomarkers
  • CA-125 Antigen
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1