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Editor's Correspondence
April 22, 2002

Tumor Markers in Malignant Ascites

Arch Intern Med. 2002;162(8):949-950. doi:

I read with interest the article on malignant ascites by Aslam and Marino.1 The detailed description of the pathogenesis of malignant ascites is very informative. However, I would like to comment on the diagnostic role of serum tumor markers in patients with malignant ascites. I do not agree with the authors' statement that "an elevated serum cancer antigen 125 [CA-125] level . . . is highly suggestive of ovarian carcinoma." On the contrary, I would like to say that tumor markers are nonspecific and their presence or absence does not include or exclude any malignancy, respectively. A markedly elevated level of CA-125 even in the presence of malignant ascites and an ovarian mass is not diagnostic of an ovarian epithelial cancer. To support this, I present herein a brief case report.

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