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Quantitation of TIMP-1 in plasma of healthy blood donors and patients with advanced cancer

Nature Publishing Group
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6690384
  • Regular Article
  • Biology
  • Medicine


A kinetic enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for plasma tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1 was developed in order to examine the potential diagnostic and prognostic value of TIMP-1 measurements in cancer patients. The ELISA enabled specific detection of total TIMP-1 in EDTA, citrate and heparin plasma. The assay was rigorously tested and requirements of sensitivity, specificity, stability and good recovery were fulfilled. TIMP-1 levels measured in citrate plasma (mean 69.2 ± 13.1 μg l−1) correlated with TIMP-1 measured in EDTA plasma (mean 73.5 ± 14.2 μg l−1) from the same individuals in a set of 100 healthy blood donors (Spearman's rho = 0.62, P < 0.0001). The mean level of TIMP-1 in EDTA plasma from 143 patients with Dukes' stage D colorectal cancer was 240 ± 145 μg l−1 and a Mann–Whitney test demonstrated a highly significant difference between TIMP-1 levels in healthy blood donors and colorectal cancer patients (P < 0.0001). Similar findings were obtained for 19 patients with advanced breast cancer (mean 292 ± 331 μg l−1). The results show that TIMP-1 is readily measured in plasma samples by ELISA and that increased levels of TIMP-1 are found in patients with advanced cancer. It is proposed that plasma measurements of TIMP-1 may have value in the management of cancer patients. © 1999 Cancer Research Campaign

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