Does arthritis elevate CA-125

Last Modified: February 16, 2003


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
Two years ago my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She underwent a course of chemo, had surgery to remove the tumor, and underwent a second round of chemo. She now has osteoarthritis in her hip and her CA-125 is elevated from 7 to 24. My question is: Could there be a correlation between the inflammation and her elevated CA-125? She is having hip replacement next month and the Dr. is going to do another CA-125 test in March.  


Christina S. Chu, MD, Assistant Professor of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, responds:

Several conditions other than ovarian cancer may cause elevations in CA-125. The non-gynecologic causes include hepatitis, pancreatitis, cirrhosis, heart failure, diabetes, diverticulitis, and pneumonia, just to name a few. While arthritis associated with autoimmune disorders such as systemic lupus erythematosis or rhematoid arthritis may contribute to elevations, I am not aware that osteoarthritis causes the CA-125 to rise. Checking the level again in March is a good idea. If the level continues to rise, your physician may recommend a CT scan to check for any recurrence of tumor.