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see immunityimmunity,
ability of an organism to resist disease by identifying and destroying foreign substances or organisms. Although all animals have some immune capabilities, little is known about nonmammalian immunity.
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A substance that initiates and mediates the formation of the corresponding immune body, termed antibody. Antigens can also react with formed antibodies. Antigen-antibody reactions serve as host defenses against microorganisms and other foreign bodies, or are used in laboratory tests for detecting the presence of either antigen or antibody. See Antibody, Antigen-antibody reaction

A protein immunogen (any substance capable of inducing an immune response) is usually composed of a large number of antigenic determinants. Thus, immunizing an animal with a protein results in the formation of a number of antibody molecules with different specificities. The antigenicity of a protein is determined by its sequence of amino acids as well as by its conformation. Antigens may be introduced into an animal by ingestion, inhalation, sometimes by contact with skin, or more regularly by injection into the bloodstream, skin, peritoneum, or other body part.

With a few exceptions, such as the autoantigens and the isoantigens of the blood groups, antigens produce antibody only in species other than the ones from which they are derived. All complete proteins are antigenic, as are many bacterial and other polysaccharides, some nucleic acids, and some lipids. Antigenicity may be modified or abolished by chemical treatments, including degradation or enzymatic digestion; it may be notably increased by the incorporation of antigen into oils or other adjuvants. See Isoantigen

Bacteria, viruses, protozoans, and other microorganisms are important sources of antigens. These may be proteins or polysaccharides derived from the outer surfaces of the cell (capsular antigens), from the cell interior (the somatic or O antigens), or from the flagella (the flagellar or H antigens). Other antigens either are excreted by the cell or are released into the medium during cell death and disruption; these include many enzymes and toxins, of which diphtheria, tetanus, and botulinus toxins are important examples. The presence of antibody to one of these constituent antigens in human or animal sera is presumptive evidence of past or present contact with specific microorganisms, and this finds application in clinical diagnosis and epidemiological surveys. See Botulism, Diphtheria, Toxin

Microbial antigens prepared to induce protective antibodies are termed vaccines. They may consist of either attenuated living or killed whole cells, or extracts of these. Since whole microorganisms are complex structures, vaccines may contain 10 or more distinct antigens, of which generally not more than one or two engender a protective antibody. Examples of these are smallpox vaccine, a living attenuated virus; typhoid vaccine, killed bacterial cells; and diphtheria toxoid, detoxified culture fluid. Several independent vaccines may be mixed to give a combined vaccine, and thus reduce the number of injections necessary for immunization, but such mixing can result in a lesser response to each component of the mixture. See Vaccination

Allergens are antigens that induce allergic states in humans or animals. Examples are preparations from poison ivy, cottonseed, or horse dander, or simple chemicals such as formaldehyde or picryl chloride. See Hypersensitivity, Immunology


A substance which reacts with the products of specific humoral or cellular immunity, even those induced by related heterologous immunogens.


a substance that stimulates the production of antibodies
References in periodicals archive ?
Randall: My approach in the asymptomatic, postmenopausal patient is much like that for the premenopausal one: RRSO for known genetic mutation carriers, genetic testing for potential carriers, and the option to use ultrasound and CA 125 monitoring in the rest.
In our study, we aimed to examine the value of CA 125 and HE4 in terms of pelvic mass differential diagnosis and also to find a cut-off point for HE 4.
The risk of malignancy index (RMI) is said to be a better diagnostic marker as compared to CA 125.
Although serum CA 19-9 levels had showed no significant difference between gastric cancer patients and controls in our study the serum levels of CEA and CA 125 were found to be significantly elevated in patients than controls.
Blood samples for CA 125 and HE4 analysis were obtained by venous puncture in our hospital, centrifuged, and stored at -70[degrees]C until assayed.
CA 125 assays for detecting malignant ovarian tumors.
Healthy women aged 55 to 74 were randomized to four rounds of annual transvaginal ultrasounds and serum CA 125 testing or regular gynecological exams/care without screening.
In the multimodal screening (MMS) group, women with an abnormal CA 125 had either a repeat CA 125 in 12 weeks or an ultrasound in 6 weeks, depending on their other risk factors.
Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS) comprised 202,638 postmenopausal women (mean age, 60 years) randomized to no screening, annual screening with transvaginal ultrasound, or annual screening with CA 125 and transvaginal ultrasound as a second-line test.
Her AFP was high at 6 and her CA 125 was elevated at 783.
We transformed parameters that did not show a Gaussian distribution for use as dependent variables in an ANCOVA analysis; we used the natural logarithms of the serum concentrations of anti-p53, TPS, AFP, CA 15-3, CA 125, BTA, IGF-I, and sIL-2R and the square root of the concentrations of c-erbB-2, CEA, hPLAP, and PDGF-BB.