Endometrial and ovarian cancers are two most common cancers affecting women in their post-menopausal years. To date, there are no simple biochemical tests to detect these cancers at early stages. Our previous study has demonstrated that the activity of total proprotein convertases (PCs) is significantly increased in uterine lavage at all stages of endometrial cancer, suggesting uterine lavage which can be obtained relatively non-invasively may provide a simple tool for the detection of endometrial cancer. However, uterine lavage may also contain ovarian-derived factors, and PCs are also reported to be up-regulated in ovarian cancer. In this study we determined whether increases in uterine lavage PC activity are specific to endometrial cancer or are also associated with ovarian cancer. PC activity was detected in all uterine lavages examined but no difference was found between women with and without ovarian cancer. On the other hand, the PC activity was significantly higher in post-menopausal endometrial cancer patients, consistent with our previous report. These results suggest that measuring total PC activity in uterine lavage is a useful tool to detect endometrial cancer specifically.
- Proprotein convertase