Table 1

Tumor marker characteristics.

Tumor marker

Clinical use in gynecological oncology

Production site in normal adult

Production site during pregnancy

Molecular weight

Carbohydrate antigen 15-3

Breast cancer

Glandular epithelia


(maternal mammary gland epithelium? placenta?)

290 kDa

Squamous cell carcinoma antigen

Cervical squamous cell cancer

Squamous epithelia (both benign and malignant)



42 kDa

Carbohydrate antigen 125

Non-mucinous ovarian cancer

Structures derived from the celomic epithelium (such as endocervix, endometrium, and fallopian tube) and in tissues developed from mesothelial cells (such as pleura, pericardium and peritoneum)

Decidua and amnion cells

200 to 250 kDa

Inhibin B

Granulosa cell tumors

(some (mucinous) epithelial ovarian tumors)

Granulosa and theca cells (member of the transforming growth factor-β family)

Granulosa and theca cells

Monomer 15 kDa, homodimer 25 kDa

Anti-Müllerian hormone

Granulosa cell tumors

Granulosa cells of ovarian follicles (member of the transforming growth factor-β family)

Sertoli cells of male fetus, for regression of Müllerian ducts

140 kDa

Lactate dehydrogenase

Germ cell tumors

Cell cytoplasm

Cell cytoplasm

140 kDa

Han et al. BMC Medicine 2012 10:86   doi:10.1186/1741-7015-10-86

Open Data