- Tumour markers for the diagnosis of pathologies
- What are HE-4 and CA125?
- How to obtain a definite diagnosis of endometrial cancer?
Tumour markers for the diagnosis of pathologies
It is known that a timely diagnosis of endometrial cancer determines a better prognosis and a high survival rate; therefore tumour markers must have high sensitivity and specificity to be able to effectively discriminate between malignant and benign pathologies.
What are HE-4 and CA125?
HE-4 is a new serum tumour marker that could be used to identify ovarian and endometrial carcinomas at an early stage. It has been shown that HE-4 is high in the early stages of endometrial cancer and is more sensitive than CA125. CA125 is a glycoprotein produced by the uterus, the uterine cervix, the Fallopian tubes and by the cells that cover the organs of the respiratory tract and of the abdomen. When one of these tissues is damaged or inflamed, it is possible to easily identify an increase in the quantities of CA125 through a simple blood test. However, in addition to ovarian cancer, a high value of this marker can also indicate other pathological conditions like endometrial cancer and endometriosis.
How to obtain a definite diagnosis of endometrial cancer?
In a study involving patients with endometrial cancer and healthy volunteers, it was found that HE-4 levels are much higher in patients affected by endometrial cancer. Therefore, analysing patients with endometrial cancer and healthy volunteers, CA125 and HE-4 levels show an 80% higher sensitivity. Given that an early diagnosis is a crucial factor for prognosis and survival in case of ovarian and endometrial carcinoma, the new serum tumour marker HE-4 that is characterised by high specificity and sensitivity, provides a great aid for a non-invasive and timely diagnosis. Moreover it is evident that in the diagnosis of these types of cancer, the simultaneous use of CA125 and HE-4 is more effective compared to the use of the markers individually.