Increased serum levels of macrophage colony-stimulating factor in ovarian cancer

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1991 Nov;165(5 Pt 1):1356-62. doi: 10.1016/0002-9378(91)90368-2.


Macrophage colony-stimulating factor is a cytokine that stimulates proliferation and differentiation of phagocytic cells. Macrophage colony-stimulating factor is produced by ovarian epithelial cancer cell lines and might provide a useful serum marker for the disease. Among sera from 69 patients with clinically apparent epithelial ovarian cancer, 47 (68%) had at least 2.5 ng/ml macrophage colony-stimulating factor, whereas only two of 80 apparently healthy donors (2.5%) had a comparable elevation of macrophage colony-stimulating factor. Circulating levels of macrophage colony-stimulating factor did not correlate with serum levels of CA 125. Moreover, 14 of 25 ovarian cancer patients (56%) with clinically evident disease and normal levels of CA 125 (less than 35 U/ml) had elevated levels of macrophage colony-stimulating factor. Among 29 patients with serum CA 125 levels less than 35 U/ml before positive surgical surveillance procedures, 9 (31%) had at least 2.5 ng/ml macrophage colony-stimulating factor. Elevated levels of macrophage colony-stimulating factor were also found in patients with carcinomas from other primary sites and in 31% of 134 patients with benign diseases. If intercurrent benign disease can be taken into account, macrophage colony-stimulating factor deserves further evaluation in combination with CA 125 in monitoring ovarian cancer.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Tumor-Associated, Carbohydrate / blood
  • Autoimmune Diseases / blood
  • Biomarkers, Tumor*
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood
  • Colonic Neoplasms / blood
  • Cystadenocarcinoma / blood
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infections / blood
  • Kidney Diseases / blood
  • Liver Diseases / blood
  • Lung Diseases / blood
  • Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / blood*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / blood*
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / blood


  • Antigens, Tumor-Associated, Carbohydrate
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor