Reconsidering the place of disease monitoring after treatment
Women who have completed primary chemotherapy for ovarian cancer commonly have serial assessment of the serum tumour marker cancer antigen 125 (CA-125).1 This practice has been based on the proven utility of CA-125 in diagnostic algorithms and as a marker of response to therapy. Serial CA-125 assessment is also used because there is evidence that in women who have completed treatment for ovarian cancer, the serum CA-125 rises 2–6 months before symptoms or signs of relapse develop. The assumption underlying this and other similar studies is that serial monitoring of CA-125 would enable early diagnosis and treatment of relapse. This would thus lead to delay or reduction of cancer-related symptoms, psychological reassurance and, in theory, improved survival.1
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