Title

MUC16 (CA125): tumor biomarker to cancer therapy, a work in progress

Abstract

Over three decades have passed since the first report on the expression of CA125 by ovarian tumors. Since that time our understanding of ovarian cancer biology has changed significantly to the point that these tumors are now classified based on molecular phenotype and not purely on histological attributes. However, CA125 continues to be, with the recent exception of HE4, the only clinically reliable diagnostic marker for ovarian cancer. Many large-scale clinical trials have been conducted or are underway to determine potential use of serum CA125 levels as a screening modality or to distinguish between benign and malignant pelvic masses. CA125 is a peptide epitope of a 3–5 million Da mucin, MUC16. Here we provide an in-depth review of the literature to highlight the importance of CA125 as a prognostic and diagnostic marker for ovarian cancer. We focus on the increasing body of literature describing the biological role of MUC16 in the progression and metastasis of ovarian tumors. Finally, we consider previous and on-going efforts to develop therapeutic approaches to eradicate ovarian tumors by targeting MUC16. Even though CA125 is a crucial marker for ovarian cancer, the exact structural definition of this antigen continues to be elusive. The importance of MUC16/CA125 in the diagnosis, progression and therapy of ovarian cancer warrants the need for in-depth research on the biochemistry and biology of this mucin. A renewed focus on MUC16 is likely to culminate in novel and more efficient strategies for the detection and treatment of ovarian cancer.

Publisher

Biomed Central Ltd.

Publication Date

5-1-2014

Publication Title

Molecular Cancer

Department

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1186/1476-4598-13-129

Keywords

Ovarian cancer, CA125, MUC16, Cancer biomarker, Metastasis, Immunesupression, Natural killer cells

Language

English

Format

text

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