Enzyme pathology of human mesotheliomas

Olga Greengard, Jonathan F. Head, A. Philippe Chahinian, Steven L. Goldberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In samples of 16 surgically resected mesotheliomas arising from the pleura of the human lung, 6 enzymes from different metabolic pathways, DNA, and mitotic frequency were quantified. The mesotheliomas, irrespective of cell type or grade, showed lower γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) concentration than 36 of the 38 pulmonary adenocarcinomas. The mean concentration of this enzyme in the 15 mesotheliomas was an eighth of that in the 56 carcinomas, whereas their DNA content was similar. The quantitative correlation of thymidine kinase (TK), uridine kinase (UK), and phosphoserine phosphatase to mitotic frequency was highly significant for mesotheliomas, as well as for carcinomas. As estimated from their TK [and its recently established quantitative correlation to volume doubling time (DT)], the DT of the 16 mesotheliomas ranged from 50 to over 700 days, with a somewhat longer median than the median for pulmonary carcinomas. Subject survival, though shortest for the 2 sarcomatous mesothelioma cases, varied over an overlapping range for mesotheliomas with epithelial or mixed cell type. The biopsy samples’ TK and UK concentrations, however, showed a significant inverse correlation with months of survival after diagnosis. Survival time after the first appearance of symptoms decreased linearly (on log scales) with TK concentration (P`.001) over the 14 cases. The results of this first quantitative study of a spectrum of biochemical constituents of mesotheliomas identify GGT as an enzyme whose measurement guards against mistaking mesotheliomas and adenocarcinomas for one another and show that the TK concentrations of these mesothelioma samples bear a highly significant, inverse correlation to the postdiagnosis survival time of the individual subjects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)617-622
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1987


Dive into the research topics of 'Enzyme pathology of human mesotheliomas'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this