OBJECTIVE: To investigate the influence of handling and storage on HE4 and CA125 serum and EDTA plasma levels to clarify any important consequences for a clinical setting. METHODS: Blood samples from 13 ovarian cancer (OC) patients were collected and allowed to clot or sediment for up to 72 hours at 4 °C or 20 °C, then processed into serum and EDTA plasma. Furthermore, the effects of up to eight repetitive cycles of freeze/thaw were investigated. HE4 and CA125 were analyzed using a Chemiluminescent Microparticle Immunoassay on the Architect i2000sr System. RESULTS: No significant effect of processing time for HE4 could be shown. HE4 EDTA plasma levels were insignificantly lower (3%) than serum levels (p = 0.41). Similarly, no significant effect of processing time for CA125 could be demonstrated. CA125 levels at 4 °C were significantly reduced compared to levels at 20 °C (p = 0.024). No significant difference between CA125 serum and plasma levels were found (p = 0.46). Serum and EDTA plasma samples were stable during the eight cycles of freezing and thawing (CA125: all p > 0.2; HE4: all p > 0.5). CONCLUSION: No systematic difference could be demonstrated for HE4. CA125 is not dependent on processing time, EDTA plasma or serum. Levels of CA125 are significantly reduced at 4 °C compared to levels at 20°C, but this difference was less than 6% and is not considered clinically relevant.
Scandinavian Journal of Clinical and Laboratory Investigation, 2014, Vol 74, Issue 6, p. 477-484