Human Epididymis Protein 4 (HE4) – that’s quite a mouthful isn’t it? I have just read on cancernetwork.com – Home of the Journal Oncology (June 18, 2013) about this marker, which may be useful in diagnosing women with early stage ovarian cancer.
For many years, serum cancer antigen 125 (CA-125) was the only available serum marker, and unfortunately this marker was not elevated in up to 50% of stage I ovarian cancers. The review by Simmons and colleagues in this issue of ONCOLOGY describes another serum marker for ovarian cancer. This marker, human epididymis protein 4 (HE4), when combined with CA-125, may result in improved early diagnosis. HE4 appears to complement CA-125 by being more often elevated in early ovarian cancer.
This information contrasts with a study reported in the British Journal of Cancer in March 2011, which indicates that the combination of HE4 and Ca125 testing does “not increase the detection of malignant disease compared with CA125 alone”.
The February 2013 update on www.uptodate.com (Evidenced-Based Clinical Decision-Support At The Point of Care) has further, more positive information on this combination of tests.