You may have read some of my previous blogs about biomarkers…blood tests for things which may help doctors diagnose Endometriosis without surgery, such as CA-125 levels. There are a lot of hopes that indicators may help save costly diagnostic surgeries, surgical risks, and painful recoveries.
A study published on May 1, 2016, reviewed 141 past studies and analyzed the data.
It does not look good for us, ladies and gents. Well, not yet at least. It concludes, “Overall, there is not enough evidence to recommend testing for any blood biomarker in clinical practice to diagnose endometriosis.”
A study published on July 27, 2016, however, holds hope that the CA-125 test may “rule in” Endometriosis. It is supported by a March 2017 study. Unfortunately, another 2017 study found that due to the fluctuating levels of CA-125 throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle, as well as the fact that CA-125 is not exclusive to Endomtriosis, does not make it a recommended diagnostic tool (yet).
A November, 2016 publication stated that women with Endometriosis may have elevated MiRNA (micro RNA) gene biomarkers. Strides are being made to identify proteins and glycoproteins (like CA-125) that may be more prevalent in women with Endometriosis. Although inflammation is a major symptom of Endometriosis, research into cytokines and chemokines (which may point to inflammation) appear equal in women with and without Endometriosis. However, the potential is being shown for using IL-8, TNF-α, and CA125 as a combined biomarker panel to help diagnose the presence of Endometriosis. Research into identifying biomarkers in urine and peritoneal fluid is also ongoing. All the science in this is waaaaaay over my head…but if it leads you to a specific conversation with your doctor, or delves you deeper into researching it yourself, my job here is done!
Hoping that future research can continue to push forward on non-invasive diagnostic tools.
*Updated April 6, 2017*
BJOG (Abstract, July 2016) – Diagnosing Endometriosis: CA-125 Rules In, but Not Out
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (Abstract, May 2016) – Blood Biomarkers for the Non-Invasive Diagnosis of Endometriosis
European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology (Abstract, March 2017) – Diagnostic Accuracy of Cancer Antigen 125 (CA-125) for Endometriosis in Symptomatic Women: A Multi-Center Study
RBGO Gynecology & Obstetrics (Article, 2017) – Biomarkers of Pelvic Endometriosis
~ Again, I am a layman. I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge. Please take what I say with a grain of salt. If curious, do your own research Validate my writings. Or challenge them. And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always. Yours ~ Lisa