Free and acetylated urinary putrescine, spermine and spermidine levels (UPA) and total polyamine excretion were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography in 57 patients with epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) and 43 control patients. Mean UPA levels were higher and the number of abnormal UPAs per sample greater for cancer patients but maximum single UPA sensitivity was only 29%. No control subject had more than 2 abnormal UPA values compared with 42% of patients with EOC. Rising UPA levels reflected progressive disease in 83% of patients and fell with tumour response in 66 %.

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