CA-125 Levels Are Predictive of Survival in Low-Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer—A Multicenter Analysis

Christoph Wohlmuth, Vladimir Djedovic, Susanne K. Kjaer, Allan Jensen, Rosalind Glasspool, Patricia Roxburgh, Anna Defazio, Sharon E. Johnatty, Penelope M. Webb, Francesmary Modugno, Diether Lambrechts, Joellen M. Schildkraut, Andrew Berchuck, Liv Cecilie Vestrheim Thomsen, Line Bjorge, Estrid Høgdall, Claus K. Høgdall, Ellen L. Goode, Stacey J. Winham, Keitaro MatsuoBeth Y. Karlan, Jenny Lester, Marc T. Goodman, Pamela J. Thompson, Tanja Pejovic, Marjorie J. Riggan, Katherine Lajkosz, Alicia Tone, Taymaa May

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Studies on low-grade serous ovarian cancer (LGSC) are limited by a low number of cases. The aim of this study was to define the prognostic significance of age, stage, and CA-125 levels on survival in a multi-institutional cohort of women with pathologically confirmed LGSC. Methods: Women with LGSC were identified from the collaborative Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium (OCAC). Cases of newly diagnosed primary LGSC were included if peri-operative CA-125 levels were available. Age at diagnosis, FIGO stage, pre-and post-treatment CA-125 levels, residual disease, adjuvant chemotherapy, disease recurrence, and vital status were collected by the participating institutions. Progression-free (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were calculated. Multivariable (MVA) Cox proportional hazard models were used and hazard ratios (HR) calculated. Results: A total of 176 women with LGSC were included in this study; 82% had stage III/IV disease. The median PFS was 2.3 years and the median OS was 6.4 years. Age at diagnosis was not significantly associated with worse PFS (p = 0.23) or OS (p = 0.3) (HR per year: 0.99; 95%CI, 0.96–1.01 and 0.98; 95%CI 0.95–1.01). FIGO stage III/IV was independently associated with PFS (HR 4.26, 95%CI 1.43–12.73) and OS (HR 1.69, 95%CI 0.56–5.05). Elevated CA-125 (≥35 U/mL) at diagnosis was not significantly associated with worse PFS (p = 0.87) or OS (p = 0.78) in MVA. Elevated CA-125 (≥35 U/mL) after completion of primary treatment was independently associated with worse PFS (HR 2.81, 95%CI 1.36–5.81) and OS (HR 6.62, 95%CI 2.45–17.92). In the MVA, residual disease was independently associated with PFS (0.022), but not OS (0.85). Conclusion: Advanced LGSC was associated with poor long-term prognosis. FIGO stage and abnormal post-treatment CA-125 level are key prognostic factors inversely associated with PFS and OS. Highlights: 1. Through a multi-center collaborative effort, data from 176 women with low-grade serous ovarian cancer were analyzed. 2. Although low-grade serous ovarian cancer is often considered indolent, the progression-free and overall survival are poor. 3. Elevated post-treatment CA-125 levels are independently associated with poor survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1954
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022


  • CA-125
  • low-grade serous cancer
  • ovarian cancer
  • survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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