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A study of CA-125 in patients with pleural effusion



A significant concern of physicians treating patients with pleural effusion is to rule out a malignant etiology, which, in the majority of series, is the first cause of pleural exudates. Determination of tumor markers in serum and pleural fluid has been proposed as a nonaggressive means of establishing a diagnosis of pleural malignancy. Cancer antigen 125 (CA-125) is not a specific tumor marker and it is synthesized by normal and malignant cells of different origins. Recently, it has been shown that various diseases are associated with increased CA-125 levels, especially in the presence of serosal fluid.


The aim of this study was to determine the level of serum and pleural fluid CA-125 to evaluate its value as a marker for differentiation between different types of pleural effusion.

Patients and methods

The study was carried out on 30 patients with pleural effusion of different etiologies. They were further subdivided into two groups: exudates and transudates; the levels of both serum and pleural fluid CA-125 were evaluated.


In terms of pleural CA-125, there was a statistically significant increase in the exudative subgroup compared with transudative subgroup. Furthermore, it was found that malignant effusion was observed more frequently compared with benign effusion and tuberculosis was observed more frequently in comparison with other infections.


The highest level of pleural fluid CA-125 was found in malignancy, followed by tuberculosis, and so pleural fluid CA-125 can be used as a marker for the diagnosis of pleural effusion. Egypt J Broncho 2015 9:283–286


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Correspondence to Heba Allah A. Moussa MD.

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Shalaby, A.E.D.O., Moussa, H.A.A., Nasr, A.S. et al. A study of CA-125 in patients with pleural effusion. Egypt J Bronchol 9, 283–286 (2015).

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