(Ovarian Cancer Test)


An early detection blood test for ovarian cancer. Includes CA-125 and HE4. It is a more accurate indicator of ovarian cancer than a simple CA-125 test.

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HE4 (Ovarian Cancer Test)

About this test

Ovarian and Endometrial Cancer is the fourth or fifth most common cause of cancer-related deaths among women worldwide and is responsible for 5% of all cancer deaths in women.

The high death rate is mostly attributable to its late detection. Earlier detection using cancer tests are essential for improved survival.

CA125 is, to date, the best known test for ovarian cancer diagnosis, and is the serum marker most widely used to monitor therapeutic response and to detect disease, or disease recurrence, for epithelial ovarian cancer. Its recognised limitations have prompted the need to develop biomarkers with better sensitivity for early stage diagnosis, with the ability to differentiate women with ovarian cancer from those with benign ovarian conditions. CA125 has a high false positive rate among women with benign gynaecological conditions such as endometriosis, ascites, pelvic infection, or conditions that cause irritation to the peritoneum, fallopian tubes, ovaries or uterus. Approximately 20% of ovarian cancers lack expression of CA125, and levels are not increased in nearly 40-50% of early stage ovarian cancers. The diagnostic value of CA-125 is compromised by its high false-positive rate.

HE4 is a marker for earlier detection of ovarian carcinoma.  It is over-expressed in patients with ovarian cancers. Normal ovarian tissue has minimal production of HE4. When combined with CA125, HE4 raises the level of sensitivity for the detection of ovarian cancer. HE4 is consistently expressed in patients with ovarian cancer and has demonstrated an increased sensitivity and specificity over that of CA125 alone.

High HE4 with High CA125 would suggest ovarian cancer, whereas an elevated CA125 without an associated elevated HE4 would indicate a benign condition. A raised HE4 and normal CA125 would suggest the presence of either ovarian or possibly other type of cancer (e.g. endometrial). It is promising as a marker for early detection by differentiating women with ovarian cancer from women with benign ovarian conditions. Studies show the benefit of CA125 and HE4 and their combined use as a diagnostic test for discrimination between benign and malignant ovarian tumours (Gynecologic Oncology 117, 440 – 445, 2010).

The Risk of Ovarian Malignancy Algorithm (ROMA) is a calculation combining the results of the CA125 and the HE4 and classifies women as being at low or high risk for malignant disease. This risk is given as an adjunct to the two test results for CA125 and HE4.  ROMA calculates a risk of finding ovarian cancer during surgery.

  • As a single marker HE4 was more sensitive than CA125
  • The combination of HE4 and CA 125 was more sensitive than either marker alone
  • Additionally for Stage 1 Disease, HE4 alone was the most sensitive marker

R G Moore et al Gynecologic Oncology 2008 402 – 408

How it works

Collect Sample

We send you an easy-to-use kit to collect your blood sample.

Post Sample

Post your sample to our lab in the prepaid envelope provided.

View Results

View results securely in your own personal dashboard.

Important Information

This test contains a tumour marker test. Please see your doctor if you are suffering any unusual symptoms which persist - do not use these tests to self-diagnose. Tumour markers are most useful when viewed in conjunction with a clinical examination. Results do not constitute a diagnosis of cancer and markers are often tested to monitor treatment when cancer has already been diagnosed, or to check that it has not returned. Cancer markers can be elevated in benign conditions and results often produce false positives. Sometimes tumour markers can be normal even though cancer is present. Please make sure that you think carefully about the risks and benefits before taking this test.

Our tests are not a substitute for seeing your doctor, especially if you are suffering symptoms. Our doctors will interpret your results based on the information you have provided, but will not diagnose, consult or provide any treatment. You will be advised to see your doctor for any necessary follow-up action.

Tests Included

Tumour Markers

Cancer Antigen 125 (CA125) is a protein which is produced by cancer cells and which can be raised in cancers of the ovary, lung, breast, pancreas and gastrointestinal tract. 

As CA125 is also produced by normal cells it is important to know your base level and monitor regularly so that any change can be picked up early. 

A raised level is not necessarily a sign of cancer, just as a low level does not guarantee that cancer is not present. Elevated CA125 can be caused by anything that causes inflammation in the pelvic region including menstruation, endometriosis, pregnancy and pelvic inflammatory disease. However, we recommend that all raised levels are investigated further. 

Finger-prick blood sample collection kit

We will send you your HE4 (Ovarian Cancer Test) finger-prick blood sample collection kit which contains everything you need to take your blood sample in the comfort of your own home. If you are unsure about completing a finger-prick blood sample collection you will have the opportunity to select a clinic-based venous blood sample collection or choose to go our London laboratory during the checkout process.

How to collect a finger-prick blood sample

Postage & packaging

Your HE4 (Ovarian Cancer Test) includes 1st class postage and packaging for you to send your blood sample directly to our laboratory for analysis. If you live in an area where you cannot rely on the post or you simply want to ensure that your sample arrives at the laboratory the following day, you may wish to send your blood sample guaranteed next day delivery for extra reassurance.

Private laboratory analysis

Your blood sample will be analysed at one of our chosen laboratories. You can be assured of fast, accurate results from one of our accredited independent providers of clinical diagnostic tests.

Interpretation of results

Our medical team will comment on out-of-range blood results and give you follow-up advice where necessary. If you need it, a PDF copy of your HE4 (Ovarian Cancer Test) results can be downloaded for your doctor.

Secure online account with mymedichecks.com

Once you have placed your order you will receive login details to mymedichecks.com where you can manage your account, track your orders and view your HE4 (Ovarian Cancer Test) results.

Health and Lifestyle tracker

Stay motivated by filling in your online health and lifestyle questionnaire and seeing how improvements in your lifestyle can influence your results. Your medical and family history gives us vital information when interpreting your results.

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