Aims: To investigate whether there is a correlation between serum tumor markers panel (CA 125, CA 19-9, CA 15-3, and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA)) and tumor size and histopathology in well staged patients with borderline ovarian tumors (BOTs).
Methods: Four tumor markers (CA 125, CA 19-9, CA 15-3, and CEA) were analysed clinically in 60 well staged patients with borderline ovarian tumor, for this retrospective observational study.
Results: Most patients had serous histology and early stage disease, and the mean age at the time of diagnosis was 40.70 years (range: 19-73). Twenty-nine patients (48.3%) had high CA 125 levels (>35 U/l), 15 patients (25%) had high levels of CEA (>4 ng/ml), 12 patients (20%) had high levels of CA 19-9 (>37 U/ml), and 9 patients (15%) had high levels of CA 15-3 (>30 ng/ml) at the time of initial surgery. The positive rate of CA 125, CA 19-9, CA 15-3, and CEA in serous tumor were 57.9, 7.9, 7.9 and 15.8%, respectively. These figures were 31.8, 40.9, 27.3 and 40.9% in mucinous tumor. The positive rate of CA 125 in the serous group was statistically significantly higher than that in the mucinous group, while the positive rates for CA 19-9 and CEA in mucinous histology was significantly higher than those in serous tumors. In case of grouping the tumor size as <4, 4.1-10 and >10 cm, the mean serum levels of tumor markers had significantly increased by increasing tumor size (p<0.05 for CA 125, and CA 19-9, p>0.05 for CA 15-3, and CEA).
Conclusion: The high levels of tumor markers, especially for CA 125 and CA 19-9, may indicate the larger tumor size. The elevation of serum CA 125 may suggest serous tumors, while the high level of serum CA 19-9 and CEA may indicate mucinous BOTs.