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Urinary Polyamines as Biomarkers for Ovarian Cancer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1360-1366
Number of pages7
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


OBJECTIVES:Elevated concentrations of polyamines have been found in urine of patients with malignant tumors, including ovarian cancer. Previous research has suffered from poorly standardized detection methods. Our liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method is capable of simultaneous standardized analysis of most known polyamines. Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry has not previously been used in the differential diagnostics of ovarian tumors in postmenopausal women.MATERIALS AND METHODS:In this prospective study, postmenopausal women (n = 71) presenting with an adnexal mass and, as controls, women with genital prolapse or urinary incontinence scheduled for surgery (n = 22) were recruited in the study. For analysis of the polyamines, a morning urine sample was obtained before surgery. Preoperative serum CA125 concentrations were determined in the study group.RESULTS:Twenty-three women with benign and 37 with malignant ovarian tumors were eligible. Of all analyzed polyamines, only urinary N,N-diacetylspermine showed statistically significant differences between all groups except controls versus benign tumors. N,N-diacetylspermine was elevated in malignant versus benign tumors (P < 0.001), in high-grade versus low malignant potential tumors (P < 0.001), in stage III to IV versus stage I to II cancers (P < 0.001), and even in early-stage cancer (stage I-II) versus benign tumors (P = 0.017). N,N-diacetylspermine had better sensitivity (86.5%) but lower specificity (65.2%) for distinguishing benign and malignant ovarian tumors than CA125 with a cut-off value of 35 kU/L (sensitivity, 75.7%; specificity, 69.6%).CONCLUSIONS:Urinary N,N-diacetylspermine seems to be able to distinguish benign and malignant ovarian tumors as well as early and advanced stage, and low malignant potential and high-grade ovarian cancers from each other, respectively.