Immunohistochemical expression of the tumour marker CA-125 in normal, hyperplastic and malignant endometrial tissue

Anticancer Res. Mar-Apr 2003;23(2A):1075-80.


Introduction: The aim of this study was to determine the tissue distribution of CA-125 in normal, hyperplastic and malignant endometrium.

Materials and methods: Endometrial tissue was obtained from women in proliferative (n = 5), early secretory (ES; n = 4) and late secretory (LS; n = 4) phase as well as glandular-cystic hyperplasia (n = 5), endometrial polyps (n = 5), endometrial polyps caused by tamoxifen use (n = 5), adenomatous hyperplasia (AH) grade I (n = 5), grade II (n = 4), grade III (n = 5) and endometroid adenocarcinoma (n = 5). The CA-125 expression was evaluated with the semiquantitative IRS-Score.

Results: CA-125 expression was observed in glandular and luminal epithelial cells, being significantly higher during LS than ES. The highest CA-125 reaction was observed in AH III in glandular and luminal cells, which was statistically higher compared to all groups (except glandular cells: proliferative and LS; luminal cells: AH I-II, glandular-cystic polyps).

Discussion: CA-125 was expressed in normal, hyperplastic and malignant endometrial tissue with a cyclical expression in premenopausal endometrial glandular cells. Adenocarcinoma expressed CA-125 with a lower intensity. The highest expression was observed in AH III in luminal and glandular cells, therefore CA-125 could be a marker of malignant cell transformation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • CA-125 Antigen / metabolism*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Endometrium / cytology*
  • Endometrium / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperplasia
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Menstrual Cycle
  • Polyps / pathology
  • Premenopause
  • Reference Values


  • CA-125 Antigen