CA-125 Level Predicts Outcome of Maintenance Chemotherapy for Ovarian Cancer in Remission

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There has been a suggestion that the level of CA-125 for ovarian cancer patients who are in complete remission predicts the risk of relapse. In a retrospective analysis of maintenance chemotherapy for this disease conducted by the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) and the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG), Markman and colleagues found that the baseline CA-125 level before maintenance chemotherapy (with either three or 12 monthly cycles of paclitaxel or oral altretamine) strongly predicts the risk of recurrence. Those with CA-125 levels ≤10 u/mL were found to have a superior progression free survival (PFS) compared with higher CA-125 levels within the normal range. Thus the CA-125 level prior to the initiation of maintenance chemotherapy may prove a useful parameter for future clinical trials addressing a major unresolved issue in ovarian cancer: optimal treatment for maintenance of remission.

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