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Differences in the Molecular Species of CA125 Across the Phases of the Menstrual Cycle.



CA125, a tumor-associated antigen, is primarily used to monitor epithelial ovarian cancer. There is evidence that different species of CA125 exist; however, it is not known if any of these species are present in healthy women during the menstrual cycle and if they are associated with serum concentrations of CA125. The purpose of this study was to determine if the molecular species of CA125 differ across the three phases of the menstrual cycle in healthy women.


Healthy, Caucasian women between the ages of 18 and 39 were enrolled using strict criteria to exclude factors known to contribute to CA125 fluctuations. Menstrual cycle regularity was determined using calendars maintained by participants for 3 months. After cycle regularity was established, blood was drawn at three time points for Western blot analysis.


Western blot analysis yielded 17 distinct profiles (i.e., patterns of species) of CA125, with 80% of the sample exhibiting 5 common profiles. No differences in demographic characteristics and serum CA125 values were found among the various CA125 profiles.


Different molecular species of CA125 exist in healthy women with regular menstrual cycles. These data provide evidence that CA125 is not a homogeneous molecular species. Future research should evaluate the molecular composition and the clinical importance of these species.

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