Objective: To determine the epidemiology of CA-125 in women without ovarian cancer.
Methods: We analyzed demographic, medical and lifestyle characteristics related to CA-125, measured using the Centocor CA-125II RIA assay, among 25,608 multi-ethnic U.S. women aged 55-74 years enrolled in a cancer screening trial and found to have no evidence of ovarian cancer.
Results: Mean CA-125 level was 11.9 U/ml (SD 8.3); median 10.0 U/ml, interquartile range 8.0-14.0. High levels, using the clinical cut point of >or=35 U/ml, were associated with increased age (p<0.001) and former smoking (p<0.021), while hysterectomy and obesity were protective (p<0.001). Mean levels were higher with increasing age (p<0.001), ever use of hormone therapy (p<0.001), former smoking (p<0.017) and history of breast cancer (p<0.002), but lower (p<0.001) with non-White status, previous hysterectomy, current smoking, and obesity. Current hormone therapy use was not associated with CA-125 in women without a uterus.
Conclusion: In post-menopausal women without ovarian cancer, CA-125 level is influenced by a number of factors, including race/ethnicity, age, hysterectomy, smoking history and obesity.