High concentrations of activin A in the peritoneal fluid of women with epithelial ovarian cancer.J Soc Gynecol Investig. 2004 May; 11(4):203-6.JS
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the concentrations of activin A in the peritoneal fluid of women with epithelial (serous) ovarian cancer.
A group of 160 women was studied and divided in four subgroups as follows: 1) serous ovarian carcinoma (n = 32); 2) serous ovarian cystadenoma (n = 20); 3) endometriosis (n = 53); and 4) healthy controls (n = 55), including both fertile (n = 32) and postmenopausal women (n = 23). Specimens of peritoneal fluid were collected during surgical interventions, and activin A was quantified using a specific two-site enzyme immunoassay.
Peritoneal fluid activin A concentrations in women with ovarian carcinoma were about five-fold higher than those found in the control group (median [interquartile range] = 7.60 [2.85-10.15] and 1.50 [1.00-2.50] ng/mL, respectively, P <.001). In contrast, the women with benign serous cystadenoma had peritoneal fluid activin A concentrations (1.50 [1.0-2.70] ng/mL) similar to those of the control group. High peritoneal fluid activin A levels (>2 multiples of the mean) distinguished carcinoma from cystadenoma with a sensitivity of 72% and a specificity of 80%. The follow-up of nine patients with stage IIIc ovarian cancer showed no apparent relationship between the peritoneal fluid activin A levels and overall survival. No significant difference in peritoneal fluid activin A concentrations between patients with endometriosis and control women was observed.
Most women with serous ovarian carcinoma had high concentrations of activin A in the peritoneal fluid, supporting a possible role of this growth factor in ovarian cancer.