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Ovarian tumors What we need to know


Ovarian tumors

Depending on which tissue of the ovary it is developed from, several types of ovarian tumors are distinguished:

Epithelial tumors - Epithelial, formed from the tissue of the outer covering membrane. It is most common in young people. 85-90% of ovarian tumors are epithelial.

Tumors arising from stromal cells - It accounts for 1% of ovarian tumors. The stroma is the cells of the ovarian structure that produce estrogen and progesterone.

Germ cell tumors – It is a tumor of egg-producing cells. It occupies 2% among ovarian tumors.





A feeling of fullness in the stomach

Changes in bladder activity


weight loss


Pain in the back

Pain in the pelvis

When to see a doctor?

In the presence of the above-mentioned symptoms, you should consult a specialist and schedule studies


Ovarian tumors are associated with uncontrolled cell growth. Tumor cells produce proteins that are specific for tumor processes and are used as tumor markers to assess the course of the disease, relapse or progression.

It is believed that tumor markers may be elevated in healthy people in the absence of cancer, so tumor marker thresholds are not used to screen for cancer.



Tumor markers or biomarkers are substances that are synthesized by the body in response to tumor cells or the tumor process. Therefore, their determination is used to diagnose cancer.

Elevated levels of ovarian tumor markers may indicate ovarian cancer, although the determination of tumor markers alone is not sufficient to make the diagnostics. In a number of non-cancerous conditions, the markers are likely to be elevated. In addition, some of the patients with ovarian cancer have normal markers.


Tumor markers are used for conditions such as:

Diagnosing cancer

Selection of treatment strategy

Evaluation of treatment effectiveness

Relapse risk assessment



The following markers are used in the diagnostics of ovarian cancer: CEA-carcinoembryonic antigen, CA-125 carbohydrate antigen, HE4 human epididymal protein 4, alpha-fetoprotein, inhibin A and B.





It is a first-line marker of ovarian cancer. Its increase is observed not only in ovarian, but also in other tumors. It is actively used to evaluate the effect of treatment and the probability of relapse after chemotherapy.

CA 125 



Human epididymal protein 4 is a characteristic marker for ovarian epithelial tumors. This marker is associated with endometriosis and Lynch syndrome (hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer).

HE 4 


Markers of tumors arising from germ cells

Some tumors develop from germ cells - sperm and egg. In this type of tumor, the following are considered tumor markers:

Chorionic gonadotropin  Find out more 


alpha-fetoprotein Learn more 


lactate dehydrogenase Learn more 



AC 19-9

It is also a tumor marker. An increase in its index characterizes ovarian clear cell tumor, teratomas and secondary malignant processes. It has also been found in patients with mucinous ovarian cancer. Mucinoma is a rare tumor. CA 19-9 has also been found in pancreatic tumors.


inhibin A და B

Hormones of the reproductive system that are involved in the development of oocytes (ovum precursor cells). In women, inhibins are produced mainly by the granulosa cells of the ovary. During pregnancy - placenta. Their amounts are different in different phases of the ovary. Inhibin A levels are low in the early follicular phase, increase during ovulation, and reach a maximum in the midluteal phase. Inhibin B, on the contrary, is high in the follicular phase and then decreases.

Inhibin A 


Inhibin B 


CEA Carcinoembryonic antigen

A specific blood protein. Its concentration is high at birth and decreases with age. An increase in its indicators is usually associated with cancer.



Interpretation of results

As we mentioned, the determination of tumor markers is an important diagnostic criterion, although an increase in the level of markers does not always mean a tumor. That is why tumor markers are not useful for cancer screening. In the case of various tumors or suspicion of a tumor, it is necessary to study a number of markers, together with instrumental-visualization methods, such as the pelvis:

Transvaginal ultrasound examination

Computed tomography

Magnetic resonance imaging



Biopsy – It is a necessary procedure for diagnosing a specific type of tumor.








Synevo" offers diagnostic tests for ovarian tumor markers:

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