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December 1981

Erythrocyte Polyamine Determinations in Patients With Head and Neck Cancer

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Pathology (Drs Shideler, Shipe, Wills, and Savory), Internal Medicine (Dr Wills), and Biochemistry (Dr Savory) and the Division of Head and Neck Oncology, Department of Otolaryngology and Maxillofacial Surgery (Drs Johns and Cantrell), University of Virginia Medical Center, Charlottesville.

Arch Otolaryngol. 1981;107(12):752-754. doi:10.1001/archotol.1981.00790480028007

• Erythrocyte polyamine levels were measured in the blood from 29 untreated patients whose conditions were diagnosed as head and neck cancer. Only nine (31%) of these patients had elevations of erythrocyte spermidine and/or spermine levels above the reference ranges determined for normal persons. However, a positive correlation was observed between the erythrocyte spermidine levels and the clinical tumor stage. Serial erythrocyte polyamine determinations were performed on the blood from 12 of these patients before and after either surgical or radiation therapy. In 11 of the cases, the erythrocyte spermidine levels decreased after tumor therapy regardless of whether there was prior elevation above the reference range. The erythrocyte spermine levels in these patients were more variable in their response to tumor treatment. Therefore, although erythrocyte polyamine levels were only slightly to moderately elevated in response to the small tumors characteristic of the head and neck, the measurement of erythrocyte spermidine, potentially, may offer a simple and effective means of monitoring the course of therapy used in patients with head and neck cancer.

(Arch Otolaryngol 1981;107:752-754)

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