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Research article2024Peer reviewed

Clinical significance of the TK1 specific activity in the early detection of ovarian cancer

Osredkar, Josko; Jagarlamudi, Kiran Kumar; Cviic, Diana; Skof, Erik; Cvjeticanin, Branko; Zore, Andrej; Lukanovic, David; Eriksson, Staffan; Meglic, Leon


Introduction: Ovarian cancer is the eighth most common cause of cancer death in women. One of the major concerns is almost two-thirds of cases are typically diagnosed in the late stage as the symptoms are unspecific in the early stage of ovarian cancer. It is known that the combination of TK1 protein with CA 125 or HE4 showed better performance than either of them alone. That's why, the aim of the study is to investigate whether the TK1 specific activity (TK1 SA) could function as a complement marker for early-stage diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Methods: The study included a set of 198 sera consisting of 134 patients with ovarian tumors (72 benign and 62 malignant) and 64 healthy age-matched controls. The TK1 SA was determined using TK1 activity by TK-Liaison and TK1 protein by AroCell TK 210 ELISA. Further CA 125, HE4, as well as ROMA index was also determined in the same set of clinical samples. Results: The TK1 SA was significantly different between healthy compared ovarian cancer patients (p < 0.0001). Strikingly, TK1 SA has higher sensitivity (55%) compared to other biomarkers in the detection of benign ovarian tumor. Further, the highest sensitivity was achieved by the combination of TK1 SA with CA 125 and HE4 for the detection of the benign tumor as well as malignant ovarian cancers (72.2 % and 88.7 %). In addition, TK1 SA could significantly differentiate FIGO stage I/II from stage III/IV malignancies (p = 0.026). Follow-up of patients after surgery and chemotherapy showed a significant difference compared to TK1 SA at the time of diagnosis. Conclusions: These results indicate that TK1 SA is a promising blood-based biomarker that could complement CA125 and HE4 for the detection of early stages of ovarian cancer.


Ovarian cancer; CA 125; HE4; Risk of ovarian malignancy algorithm index; Thymidine kinase 1; TK1-specific activity

Published in

2024, Volume: 102, number: 1, pages: 17-29
Publisher: KARGER

      SLU Authors

    • Sustainable Development Goals

      Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Cancer and Oncology

      More information

      Correction in: Oncology, DOI: 10.1159/000534436

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