Human Epididymis Protein 4 Blood Test
The Human Epididymis Protein 4 Blood Test monitors epithelial ovarian cancer after treatment to detect recurrence or disease progression.
What is epithelial ovarian cancer?
Did you know ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women? The American Cancer Society reports that the chances of a woman developing ovarian cancer in her lifetime is approximately 1 in 75, and the risk of death is 1 in 100. Every year, around 22,000 new cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed in the United States, with about 14,000 women succumbing to the disease. Epithelial ovarian cancer is the most frequently occurring type of ovarian cancer, which arises from cells that line the outer surface of the ovaries and accounts for 85% to 90% of all ovarian cancers.
What is the purpose of this test?
Order this Human Epididymis Protein 4 Blood Test monitors epithelial ovarian cancer after treatment to detect recurrence or disease progression. The Human Epididymis Protein 4 (HE4) is a protein that is mainly produced by epithelial ovarian cancer cells, although not all of them. It can be used as a tumor marker in certain situations. If a woman has considerably high levels of HE4 in her blood, it may indicate that she has epithelial ovarian cancer. The HE4 test can then be used to monitor the progress of her treatment and keep an eye on any potential recurrence or progression of the cancer.
HE4 is often used in conjunction with CA-125 to monitor the treatment of epithelial ovarian cancer. However, it must be elevated before treatment to be an effective tumor marker. Regular testing of both HE4 and CA-125 can help to monitor the effectiveness of treatment and potential recurrence. It is important to note that HE4 should be used with other clinical findings and is not recommended as a screening test for asymptomatic women. It is also not intended for monitoring mucinous epithelial ovarian cancers or germ cell tumors.
HE4 also serves another purpose, which is to be included in the Risk of Ovarian Malignancy Algorithm (ROMA). This calculation takes into account a woman's menopausal status, as well as the results of HE4 and CA-125, to produce a numerical score. Before surgery, a healthcare provider can use the ROMA score to determine whether a pelvic mass is likely to be cancerous.
When should I order a Human Epididymis Protein 4 Blood Test?
Individuals may order this test if they have been diagnosed with epithelial ovarian cancer to see if it produces these proteins and to establish a baseline to compare against future measurements. If the protein levels are high before treatment, the person may need to take periodic tests of HE4 and CA-125 after treatment to monitor changes and check for signs of the cancer returning or worsening.
Common signs or symptoms of epithelial ovarian cancer include:
- Pain, swelling, or a feeling of pressure in the abdomen or pelvis
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Trouble eating or feeling full
- A lump in the pelvic area
- Gastrointestinal problems (gas, bloating, or constipation)
Trusted, Secure, & Confidential
Shop All Tests