The urinary concentrations of 16 estrogens and 11 polyamines were quantitatively determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and gas chromatography with nitrogen-phosphorus detection. Samples from patients with stages I-IV of breast cancer (35 cases, aged 27-65 years) as well as from age-matched normal female subjects (25 cases, aged 22-61 years) were tested. Also, the ratios of precursor to product metabolite including 16α-OH E1 to 2-OH E1, which are linked to estrogen and polyamine biosynthetic pathways, were determined to explore enzyme involvement in breast cancer and to evaluate the potential usefulness of these ratios and concentrations as disease staging markers. It was confirmed that major estrogens and 16α-OH E1 were positively associated with breast cancer and catechol estrogens including 2-OH E1 were inversely associated with breast cancer. The ratios of N1-acSp/Spd and 16α-OH E1/2-OH E1 might be a useful dual marker for staging of breast cancer. From the variation of the relative ratios of polyamines, it is suggested that alteration in polyamine oxidase (PAO) activity may play an important role in the development of breast cancer. Copyright (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.
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