Human epididymis protein 4 (HE4) is a novel and specific biomarker for ovarian cancer. The aim of this study is to evaluate a new tumor marker, HE4, in comparison with CA125 in diagnosis of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) and benign gynecological diseases.


CA125 and HE4 serum levels were determined in 30 patients with epithelial ovarian cancer (21 serous, 6 endometrioid and 3 mucinous tumors), 20 patients with benign gynecological diseases (8 patients with ovarian cyst, 5 patients with endometriosis, 4 patients with fibroid and 3 patients with pelvic inflammatory disease) and 20 healthy women. CA125 and HE4 cut-offs were 35 U/ml and 150 pmol/l, respectively.


Serum HE4 and CA125 concentrations were significantly higher in the ovarian cancer patients compared with those seen in patients with benign disease or in the healthy controls (p = 0.001 and p < 0.001 respectively). In the receiver operating characteristic analysis (ROC), the area under the curve (AUC) values for HE4 was 0.96 (95% confidence interval, 0.9-1.0) and CA125 was 0.82 (95% confidence interval, 0.7-0.94). Compared to CA125, HE4 had higher sensitivity (90% vs. 83.3%), specificity (95% vs. 85%), PPV (93.1% vs. 80.7%) and NPV (92.7% vs. 87.2%), the combination of HE4 + CA125 the sensitivity and PPV reached 96.7% and 97% respectively.


Measuring serum HE4 concentrations along with CA125 concentrations may provide higher accuracy for detecting epithelial ovarian cancer.