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Br J Cancer. 2002 Sep 23;87(7):763-71.

Immunofluorometric quantitation and histochemical localisation of kallikrein 6 protein in ovarian cancer tissue: a new independent unfavourable prognostic biomarker.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, ON, M5G 1X5, Canada.


Human kallikrein 6 protein is a newly discovered human kallikrein. We determined the amount of human kallikrein 6 in extracts of 182 ovarian tumours and correlated specific activity (ng hK6 mg(-1) total protein) with clinicopathological variables documented at the time of surgical excision and with outcome (progression free survival, overall survival) monitored over a median interval of 62 months. Thirty per cent of the tumours were positive for human kallikrein 6 (>35 ng hK6 mg(-1) total protein). Human kallikrein 6-specific immunohistochemical staining of four ovarian tissues that included benign, borderline and malignant lesions indicated a cytoplasmic location of human kallikrein 6 in tumour cells of epithelial origin, although the intensity of staining was variable. Tumour human kallikrein 6 (ng hK6 mg(-1) total protein) was higher in late stage disease, serous histotype, residual tumour >1 cm and suboptimal debulking (>1 cm) (P<0.05). Univariate analysis revealed that patients with tumour human kallikrein 6 positive specific activity were more likely to suffer progressive disease and to die (hazard ratio 1.71 (P=0.015) and 1.88 (P=0.022), respectively). Survival curves demonstrated the same (P=0.013 and 0.019, respectively). Multivariate analysis revealed that human kallikrein 6 positivity was retained as an independent prognostic variable in several subgroups of patients, namely those with (low) grade I and II tumours (hazard ratio progression free survival 4.3 (P=0.027) and overall survival 4.1 (P=0.023)) and those with optimal debulking (hazard ratio progression free survival 3.8 (P=0.019) and overall survival 5.6 (P=0.011)). We conclude that tumour kallikrein 6 protein levels have utility as an independent adverse prognostic marker in a subgroup of ovarian cancer patients with otherwise apparently good prognosis.

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