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Gynecol Oncol. 2009 Jan;112(1):205-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2008.08.037. Epub 2008 Oct 22.

Estrone sulfatase activity in patients with advanced ovarian cancer.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics, Division of Gynecologic Oncology,University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.



We sought to identify whether the sulfatase pathway was present in ovarian cancer specimens and then to determine whether a clinical correlation existed between sulfatase activity and survival.


Enzymatic activity was assessed in advanced ovarian cancer specimens via thin layer chromatography and standardized against total protein. All enzyme activities are reported in pmol/mg protein/30 min. Kaplan Meier curves of progression-free and overall survival were constructed to compare outcomes between patients with low sulfatase activity and high sulfatase activity. Median survival rates were compared using the log-rank test for survival curves. Differences in proportions between patients with low sulfatase activity versus high sulfatase activity were compared with the z-test or chi-square analysis as appropriate.


37 specimens from patients with advanced stage ovarian cancer were analyzed. Enzymatic activity was detected in all specimens except one. Median progression-free survival was 23.5 months for patients with low sulfatase activity compared to 6.9 months for patients with high sulfatase activity (p=0.008). Median overall survival favored the low sulfatase group (50.8 vs. 30.6 months respectively), though statistical difference was not detected (p=0.16). No other difference in clinical characteristics between patients with high or low sulfatase activity was detected.


Sulfatase activity is widely present in ovarian cancer specimens. Increased sulfatase activity is associated with worse progression-free survival in patients with advanced stage ovarian cancer. The sulfatase pathway is a potential therapeutic target in the treatment of ovarian cancer.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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