The levels of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) isoenzymes were assayed in serous effusions from 111 hospital patients under investigation for cancer. The levels of M-subunit LDH in effusions from patients proven to have cancer were significantly higher than in patients in whom cancer was not proven (p < 0.001). Chemotherapeutic agents used to combat cancer such as 5-fluorouracil, vincristine and cyclophosphamide are known to affect lactate dehydrogenase. On excluding these effects by studying patients before therapy was instituted, levels of M-subunit LDH were found to be significantly different for certain tumour types found in serous effusions, such as mesothelioma, adenocarcinoma and dedif-ferentiated carcinoma (p < 0.005).

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