Fatty acid composition of lysophosphatidic acid and lysophosphatidylinositol in plasma from patients with ovarian cancer and other gynecological diseases

Gynecol Oncol. 2001 Oct;83(1):25-30. doi: 10.1006/gyno.2001.6357.


Objective: We previously reported that plasma levels of total lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) represented a potential biomarker for ovarian cancer and other gynecological cancers [1]. However, total LPA is composed of different LPA species with distinct fatty acid chains. The major objective of the current study, therefore, was to determine whether one or more specific fatty acid LPA species was associated with disease or disease staging. If this was determined, these species could be useful in further improving the sensitivity and/or specificity of this biomarker for the diagnosis and/or prognosis of the disease. Because lysophosphatidylinositol (LPI) co-migrates with LPA, this study represents the analysis of combined molecular species from both lysolipid classes.

Methods: The patient population, sample collection, and analyses have been reported previously [1]. Lipids were hydrolyzed from the LPA band on thin-layer chromatography plates. The following individual fatty acid species were analyzed by gas chromatography: palmitic acid (16:0), stearic acid (18:0), oleic acid (18:1), linoleic acid (18:2), arachidonic acid (20:4), and docosahexaenoic acid (22:6). The LPA/LPI fatty acid composition levels were analyzed and compared with disease status.

Results: Distinct plasma LPA/LPI fatty acid chain species were not associated with ovarian or other gynecological cancers, compared to patients with benign gynecological disease or healthy controls. However, an increased presence of unsaturated fatty acids in plasma LPA/LPI was found in patients with late-stage or recurrent ovarian cancer and possibly with other gynecological cancers.

Conclusions: Analysis of individual fatty acid species present in plasma LPA/LPI do not appear to enhance the sensitivity or specificity of total LPA/LPI as a marker for gynecological cancer detection. However, our results suggest that increased LPA/LPI species with unsaturated fatty acid chains may be associated with late-stage or recurrent ovarian cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / blood
  • Female
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / blood
  • Humans
  • Lysophospholipids / blood*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / blood*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Palmitic Acid / blood
  • Stearic Acids / blood


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Lysophospholipids
  • Stearic Acids
  • lysophosphatidylinositol
  • Palmitic Acid
  • stearic acid