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Oncol Rep. 2005 Oct;14(4):1013-9.

Concentration of thymidine kinase 1 in serum (S-TK1) is a more sensitive proliferation marker in human solid tumors than its activity.

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Department of Oncology Clinic Research Laboratory, KFC, floor 5, Karolinska University Hospital, S-141 86 Stockholm, Sweden.


Activity of thymidine kinase 1 in serum (STK) is a useful marker for leukaemia and lymphoma, but not for solid tumors. We investigate thymidine kinase 1 concentration in serum (S-TK1) as a potential tumor marker. S-TK1 concentration and STK activity levels were determined in 9 human malignant diseases (breast, gastric, rectal, colorectal, lung, brain cancer, hepatoma, lymphoma, leukaemia) and in benign and non-cancerous diseases, representing 850 preoperative cases. Healthy volunteers (n=43) were used as positive controls. S-TK1 concentration was determined by ECL dot blot assay and STK activity levels by an RIA assay. S-TK1 concentrations and STK activity levels in preoperative malignant patients were significantly higher than in healthy individuals, in patients with benign tumors and in those with non-cancerous diseases. Significant correlations between concentration and activity level were only found in healthy individuals, in patients with benign tumors, and in some patients with malignancies, i.e. leukaemia, and breast and gastric cancers. About 90-95 percent of the malignant patients showed S-TK1 concentrations above those of the healthy controls. The corresponding value for STK activity was about 75 percent. When sera from malignant patients were diluted with sera from healthy individuals, S-TK1 concentrations and STK activity levels decreased more than expected. This indicates the presence of a compound (or compounds) in the serum of healthy individuals that destabilises S-TK1. We conclude that S-TK1 concentration is a more sensitive tumor marker in solid malignancies than is STK activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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