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Cancer. 1990 Feb 15;65(4):958-66.

Polyamines in colorectal cancer. Evaluation of polyamine concentrations in the colon tissue, serum, and urine of 50 patients with colorectal cancer.

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Department of Medicine, Georg August-University of Göttingen, FRG.


Total, free, and acetylated polyamine concentrations were measured simultaneously in colon tissue, serum, and urine of 50 patients with histologically proven colorectal cancer, 40 patients with nonmalignant gastrointestinal diseases, and 30 healthy volunteers. Compared with histologically unaffected colon tissue, concentrations were significantly (P less than 0.001) higher for putrescine, elevated for cadaverine, and nearly identical for spermidine and spermine in colon carcinoma, whereas N1-acetylated and N8-acetylated spermidine were detectable in cancer tissue only. Serum and urine concentrations of all polyamines except total cadaverine and spermine in serum and free spermine in urine were significantly elevated compared with healthy controls and highest sensitivity for colon cancer was found for total spermidine (89.15%) in serum and acetylputrescine (84.5%), total putrescine (84.0%), N1-acetylspermidine (79.3%), and total spermidine (92.1%) in urine. However, nonmalignant gastrointestinal diseases partly showed similar elevations which resulted in a low specificity for polyamines in colorectal cancer. Therefore, polyamines are of little value only as diagnostic markers in colorectal carcinoma. Since polyamine concentrations in serum and urine normalized in patients after curative operation while they were further elevated in patients with proven tumor relapse or metastases, these substances might play a clinical role in predicting therapeutic success or indicating relapse of the tumor. Although a significant dependency of polyamine concentrations in serum or urine to Dukes' classification, tumor localization, CEA, CA 19-9, or CA 125 did not exist, a significant linear correlation was found for tumor size.

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