Inhibin is an ovarian protein previously shown, using a nonspecific assay, to be elevated in serum of women with ovarian cancer. However, inhibin is secreted in multiple biochemical forms, including dimeric inhibin A and B and α inhibin precursors (pro-αC), each of which can now be specifically measured. We have examined the secretion of inhibin B and pro-αC inhibin in serum from women with epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) for the first time, and have compared these analytes to inhibin A and total inhibin (inhibin A + B + pro-αC) as potential serum markers for EOC in postmenopausal women. Of all the immunoreactive inhibin proteins studied, the best serum marker was pro- αC, with 22% of women with EOC having levels that exceeded the range of values in women without EOC. Since CA 125 and pro-αC levels were not significantly correlated, combination of these markers resulted in 87% of EOC cases having elevated preoperative serum levels, a 9% increase over CA 125 alone. These data suggest that α inhibin secretion, especially pro-αC, may be useful in addition to CA 125 as a serum marker for EOC in postmenopausal women.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Obstetrics and Gynecology