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Clin Breast Cancer. 2002 Aug;3(3):196-200.

Clinical utility of urokinase-type plasminogen activator and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 determination in primary breast cancer tissue for individualized therapy concepts.

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Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany.


Invasion factors urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) and its plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI-1) are the only novel tumor biological prognostic factors validated at the highest level of evidence with regard to their clinical utility in breast cancer. Antigen levels of both factors present in extracts of primary tumor tissue are determined by standardized, quality-assured enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Numerous studies showed that patients with low levels of uPA and PAI-1 have a significantly better survival than patients with high levels of either factor. Recently, these data have been validated by a European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer pooled analysis comprising more than 8000 breast cancer patients. The particular combination of both factors, uPA/PAI-1 (both low vs. either or both factors high), outperforms the single factors as well as other traditional prognostic factors with regard to risk group assessment, particularly in node-negative breast cancer. Node-negative breast cancer patients with low levels of uPA and PAI-1 have a very good prognosis and, as such, may be candidates for being spared the burden of adjuvant chemotherapy. In contrast, node-negative patients with high uPA/PAI-1 are at a substantially increased risk of relapse, comparable to that of patients with > or = 3 involved axillary lymph nodes. First results from a multicenter prospective randomized therapy trial in node-negative breast cancer (Chemo N(0)) as well as recent retrospective analyses indicate that these high-risk patients benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy. Thus, combined determination of the invasion factors uPA and PAI-1 supports risk-adapted individualized therapeutic strategies in patients with primary breast cancer, particularly in those with node-negative breast cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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