Chinese researchers reported that levels of CA125 — a serum marker used to monitor certain cancers — could aid in predicting overall survival and chemotherapy response in people with diffuse malignant mesothelioma. The findings suggested that CA125 is a suitable prognostic and therapeutic response marker in this patient group.
Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer, and its prognostic assessment is troubled by a lack of effective markers and unspecific clinical signs. CA-125 has been used as a marker of progression-free survival and overall survival in patients with epithelial ovarian cancer. Its use in mesothelioma, however, has not been evaluated.
The study, “Clinical significance of serum CA125 in diffuse malignant mesothelioma,“ explored the prognostic and predictive value of baseline CA125 levels in 41 patients with diffuse malignant mesothelioma. The research team at the West China Hospital, Sichuan University, China, reported that patients included in the study were between 24 and 80 years old, and the majority was male. Among the patients, 23 had pleural disease, and 18 had a peritoneal location for their cancer. Most patients, 75.6 percent, had stage IV disease.
Patients were treated with chemotherapy in 56.1 percent of the cases, and 26.8 percent had undergone palliative cytoreductive surgery. Survival in the group ranged from one to 48 months, with a median of 40 months. At 6, 12, and 18 months, the survival was 62.4, 44.6, and 41.4 percent, respectively.
The analysis, published in the journal Springer Plus, took into account a range of factors, such as age, disease stage, sex, tumor location, cancer subtype, treatment type and levels of CA125 at baseline. The team identified four factors that could independently predict overall survival — the baseline levels of CA125, stage of disease, tumor location, and systemic chemotherapy.
Looking specifically at patients who received chemotherapy, the researchers noted that the drop in serum CA125 was mirroring treatment response. The decline was also linked to a better overall survival.
By comparing a range of stratification values for serum levels of CA125, the researchers determined that a suitable cut-off point for predicting outcomes was 280 U/ml of the marker. Patients with less than 280 U/ml had a better overall survival than those patients with levels above this value.