Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prognostic significance of serum human epididymis protein 4 (HE4) level in patients with epithelial ovarian cancer.
Study design: A total of 78 women diagnosed with a pelvic mass and operated on in our institute comprised our cohort. Forty-five of these were diagnosed with epithelial ovarian cancer and treated with debulking surgery, followed by taxane and platinum-based chemotherapy as clinically indicated. Preoperatively obtained serum samples were analyzed for levels of HE4 and CA125.
Results: The elevated serum HE4 level was related to advanced stage and serous type of cancer. The median duration of the follow-up was 35.1 months. In advanced stage, the median progression-free survival (PFS) of patients with elevated serum HE4 levels was 20.1 months (95% CI, 15.7-24.6 months), whereas that of patients with normal serum HE4 level was 24.2 months (95% CI, 13.9-34.6 months) (p=0.029). Independent predictors for PFS in patients with advanced stage EOC included serum HE4 level (hazard ratio 2.24; 95% CI, 1.14 to 6.84; p=0.048).
Conclusions: Our results demonstrated that an elevated serum HE4 level was related to the advanced stage of epithelial ovarian cancer. An elevated serum level of HE4 is a poor prognostic factor for PFS in patients with epithelial ovarian cancer who were treated with debulking surgery and adjuvant taxane and platinum-based chemotherapy. The serum HE4 level is a promising indicator for the progression of cancer as well as a biomarker for the detection of epithelial ovarian cancer.
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