Ovarian Cancer Testing: HE4, Ovarian Cancer Monitoring

It is important to monitor women who have had ovarian cancer and received therapy to treat it. This is because ovarian cancer sometimes recurs (happens again) in patients who were cancer free for awhile. A doctor might use physical exams, imaging tests, and laboratory tests when monitoring a patient who had ovarian cancer.

What is HE4, Ovarian Cancer Monitoring?

HE4, Ovarian Cancer Monitoring is a laboratory test that can help a physician find out if cancer has recurred.* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared the HE4 test in 2008. The HE4 Ovarian Cancer Monitoring test is designed to measure the level of the HE4 protein in a patient's blood. An increase in the HE4 protein might mean the ovarian cancer has come back, but more testing would be needed to be sure. HE4 can be increased in other conditions too.

Does HE4, Ovarian Cancer Monitoring work with CA 125?

HE4, Ovarian Cancer Monitoring is a tool that physicians may use alone or with the Cancer Antigen 125 (CA 125) blood test.† The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared the CA 125 test about 20 years ago. An increased CA125 test might mean that the cancer has come back. But more testing would be needed to be sure, because CA 125 levels can also be increased by non-cancerous conditions, such as ovarian cysts. On the other hand, some women have a recurrence even though their CA 125 level is normal.

Neither HE4, Ovarian Cancer Monitoring nor CA125 always detect cancer. And both tests may wrongly suggest cancer has recurred. A physician may order one or both tests to better understand if cancer has recurred.

Quest Diagnostics offers both HE4, Ovarian Cancer Monitoring and CA125 tests.

For more information about how HE4, Ovarian Cancer Monitoring or CA 125 may help you, please consult your physician. Your health care professional is the best source of information.

*The HE4 EIA is an enzyme immunometric assay for the quantitative determination of HE4 in human serum. The assay is to be used as an aid in monitoring recurrence or progressive disease in patients with epithelial ovarian cancer. Serial testing for patient HE4 assay values should be used in conjunction with other clinical methods used for monitoring ovarian cancer. (Source: HE4 Informational Insert. © 2008, Fujirebio Diagnostics Inc.)

† For in vitro diagnostic use with the IMMULITE 2000 Analyzer — for the quantitative measurement of CA 125 antigen in serum, as an aid in monitoring the response to therapy for patients with epithelian ovarian cancer, and in detecting residual ovarian cancer in patients who have undergone first-line therapy and would be considered for diagnostic secton-look procedures. (Source: Informational Insert for IMMULITE 2000 OM-MA, 2006 Siemens Medical Solutions Diagnostics)