CA125 is the most widely used tumor marker presently available for use in patients with epithelial ovarian cancer. Although elevated in a high percentage of patients with ovarian cancer, serum CA125 levels have also been detected in patients with numerous benign and malignant nongynecologic disorders, including various diseases of the liver. Despite this well- publicized fact, it has become apparent that the association between CA125 elevation, particularly the degree of elevation, and liver disease may not be as widely recognized as one would suspect. When marked CA125 elevations occur, diagnostic confusion is common. We describe two cases illustrative of this point. Both cases involve middle-aged women who presented with massive ascites and due to markedly elevated serum CA125 levels underwent exploratory laparotomy with hysterectomy and/or bilateral salpingo-oopherectomy before their referral to our center. Because preservation of a woman's reproductive organs is a significant concern, it is imperative that both primary care physicians and specialists are aware of such associations and the proper use of tumor markers.
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